By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, halted plans by the Federal Government to dock the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, over his alleged non declaration of assets.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Evelyn Maha, restrained FG from going ahead with the planned arraignment, following two ex-parte applications that were moved by two separate groups.
Whereas the first application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was filed by incorporated Trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, the second application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 was lodged before the court by the Incorporated Trustees of the International Association of Students Economists and Management.
Cited as Defendants in the suit were the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, the National Judicial Council, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Whereas the first application was moved by Mr. R.A Lawal-Rabana, SAN, the second motion was moved by Mr. Jeph Njikonye.
In her ruling, Justice Maha, ordered all the parties to maintain status quo till January 17 when the case was adjourned to.
The court further ordered service of all the relevant processes on the Defendants to enable them to appear on the adjourned date.
Justice Maha specifically warned that no no steps should be taken by any of the parties in respect of the planned trial of the CJN, pending the hearing and determination of the two suits before her.
It will be recalled that the CJN who is facing a six-count charge the FG entered against him, was absent at the tribunal when the matter was called up for his arraignment.