Following Federal Government motion before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, asking for the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as the CJN and the chairman of the National Judicial Council the motion we learnt was filed by Musa Ibrahim and Fatima Danjuma Ali on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation on Thursday. Embattled CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen has filled a suit at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, from proceeding with his planned arraignment.
The appellate court, in a ruling by a three-man panel of justices, said it would refrain from making such order pending the hearing of an appeal the CJN lodged to challenge the six-count charge the Federal Government preferred against him before the CCT.
Onnoghen had through his team of lawyers, led by Chief Adegnoyega Awomolo, SAN, made an oral application for the Court of Appeal to stop the CCT from going ahead with plans to dock him on the six-count criminal charge Federal Government entered against him, pending the determination of his appeal.
The Federal Government was cited as the only respondent in the appeal.
The first sign of chaos is the number of senior advocates of Nigeria who offered to take up the matter free of charge. Often, when you find that many senior lawyers falling over themselves to represent a client – usually a high-profile client – you can be sure that more than anything else, they’re in it for spite, drama and self-interest.
Awomolo applied for order to stop the the CCT trial, after Federal Government’s lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Omonuwa, insisted that he would need three days to respond to the CJN’s appeal.
Omonuwa, who told the court that he was only served the processes yesterday morning, said his appearance in court was out of respect for the judiciary.
He, therefore, applied for a short adjournment to enable him file a reply to the CJN’s motion.
Consequently, counsel to the CJN, Awolowo, SAN, said it was necessary for the appellate court to preserve the subject matter of the case before the CCT.
He urged the court to order the CCT to keep the proceedings before it at abeyance, pending the disposal of the appeal.
However, the appellate court panel, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, after a brief meeting among themselves, declined the request.
“We are of the view that no form of order shall be made at his stage pending hearing of motion on notice adjourned till January 24,” Justice Aboki held.