(By Iheanyi Ezinwo)-The decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja to turn down the request of Justice Walter Onnoghen, suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, to stop his trial over failure to declare all his assets at and as when due, has prompted the Code of Conduct Tribunal to resume his trial on February 4.
News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that, the indication was given in a statement issued on Thursday by Ibraheem Al-Hassan, the Heads, (Press & Public Relations), Code of Conduct Tribunal, and it reads:
“Conduct Tribunal Fixes 4th February for resumption of alleged Non asset declaration trial against Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen.
“Following Court of Appeal ruling yesterday on the trial against Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter, on alleged non declaration of asset before Code of Conduct Tribunal is hereby fixed for Monday, 4th of February, 2019.
“The decision was reached today sequel to a correspondent from Code of Conduct Bureau, applying for the resumption of trial of the case captioned; Application for resumption of trial of the case of FRN V. Hon. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel case No: CCT/ABJ/01/19, addressed to Hon. Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, dated 30th January, 2019, jointly signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq).
“The request reads in part; “The above subject refers. This case came up for hearing of preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal on the 28th of January, 2019 but the Tribunal could not proceed due to the tendency of the case at the Court of Appeal.
“However, in the wake of this afternoon, 30th January, 2019 the Court of Appeal has thrown out the appeal.
“Consequently on the above, we urge the Honourable Tribunal to give us a date for resumption of the trial subject to the convenience of the Tribunal, Most obliged my Lord”, the statement concludes.
NAN further reports that, the CCT’s latest step comes barely a day after an Appeal Court in Abuja dismissed a suit filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, seeking a stay of execution on his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Abdul Aboki rejected the appeal, saying that the injunction is spent and the case at the CCT can continue.
The appellate court held that Justice Onnoghen’s application runs contrary to section 306 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA).
Justice Aboki who read the lead ruling cited a case of Dr Bukola Saraki in which Justice Onnoghen himself at the Supreme Court declined to stay trial of Saraki on the same ground that section 306 of the new law, did not permit the stay of criminal trial.