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Agbakoba drags AGF to court over CJN’s trial

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

Constitutional lawyer and former President of Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to court over moves to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over his alleged non-declaration of assets.

Agbakoba

In the suit he lodged before the Federal High Court in Abuja, Agbakoba, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, maintained that the six-count charge pending against the CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.

He is praying the court to determine, “Whether having regard to the decision of the Court of Appeal in NgajiwaV FRN (2017) LPELR-43391 (CA) , the combined provisions of sections 6, 153,158,287(2), and 292(1) and Paragraph 21(b) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, as altered and extant provisions of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, the present charge in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, does not amounr to flagrant and violent disregard of the provisions of the Constitution, due process of law, and, therefore, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

“Whether the 1st and 2nd defendants can competently file and maintain charges against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, or indeed any court or tribunal without prior recourse to the 4th defendant, the National Judicial Council, in accordance with constitutional provisions.

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“Whether the 1st and 2nd defendants can maintain charges against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, or indeed any  Court or Tribunal without affording him adequate time and facilities for preparation of his defence.”

Upon determination of the legal questions, Agbakoba, prayed the court to among other things, declare that “the purported steps taken by the 1st and 2nd   Defendants to arraign Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu   Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd Defendant, the   Code of Conduct Tribunal, on the basis of Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 filed therein,   without prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial   Council,   is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that the purported or proposed arraignment, of   the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu   Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, on   Monday 14th January, 2019, or on any other date whatsoever, on the   basis Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 filed therein, without first having prior recourse to the   4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council,   is illegal, unlawful,   wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void

“A declaration that the purported or proposed arraignment, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, on Monday 14th January, 2019, or on any other date whatsoever, without first being afforded sufficient time and facilities for preparation of his defence, is unconstitutional, null and void, being a gross violation of the provisions of Section 36 (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

ALSO READ: CCT Trial: FG freezes CJN, Onnoghen’s five bank accounts

“A declaration that   Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19, filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, by the 1stand 2nd Defendants, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, without first having prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council,   is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.

“An order of this Honourable Court, quashing and/or setting aside, in their entirety, all the charges preferred by the 1st and 2nd Defendants, against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 and nullifying all steps taken by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, leading to the said illegal and unconstitutional arraignment or proposed arraignment of Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, CJN before the 3rd Defendant.

Likewise, “An order of injunction by this Honourable Court, restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants, whether by themselves, servants,privies or officers working under them, from maintaining the charges or taking any further steps towards maintenance and prosecution of any charges, against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the 3rd Defendant or any other Court or Tribunal,   without first having recourse to the 4th Defendant”.

Aside from the AGF, other defendants in the suit are the Code of Conduct Bureau, the CCT and the National Judicial Council.

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