June 12, 2017

Anti-graft war: CJN denies stashing $9m at home


Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen,

…Insists DSS never raided his residence

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, denied reports that the Department of State Service, DSS, recovered $9 million from his home.

In a statement he issued last night, the CJN, maintained that the DSS has never searched his residence, even as he alleged plot to tarnish his image.

The CJN bemoaned that false report that DSS found $9m in his home is already “circulating online”, saying he would, however, not be distracted by those sponsoring campaign of calumny against him.

The statement which was signed by media aide to the CJN, Mr. Awassam Bassey, read: “The attention of His Lordship, the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen has been drawn to reports circulating online alleging that the Department of State Security (DSS) allegedly found Nine Million US dollars in his home.

“His Lordship the CJN advises the public to disregard these infantile lies most probably intended to impugn the good name of His Lordship the CJN and distract him from the programmes which he recently introduced and has started implementing to reform the Judiciary as the third arm of government.

“The truth, which is already in the public domain,   is that the DSS has never raided the home of His Lordship the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Hon Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen GCON; not recently and certainly not in the October 2016 invasion of the homes of some judicial officers in the country.

“It, therefore, beats the imagination why anyone would go out of his way to concoct and fabricate stories which are obvious falsehood.

“The Hon. Chief Justice assures Nigerians that the sponsors of these fake news stories and their campaign to smear his name will not distract, discourage or slow the reforms he has begun implementing.”

“The Honourable CJN advises online publishers not to allow their platforms to be used as a medium for publication of fake news which does the country more harm than good in the eyes of the international community.

“Finally, His Lordship the CJN assures Nigerians that the Judiciary under his watch will continue to discharge it’s responsibility as the last hope of all men, not just the common man”.

It will be recalled that the DSS had between October 7 and 9, 2016, arrested eight superior court Judges after their official residences were thoroughly searched in what the agency described as a “sting operation”.

Among those arrested were two Justices of the Supreme Court – Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta.

There were insinuations then that refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately okay Justice Onnoghen as the substantive CJN was a function of an “intelligence report” from the secret service.