……to swear in election petition tribunal judges Saturday
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Friday, refuted report that he has resigned his office, describing it as fake news.
In a statement that was signed by his Senior Special Assistant on media, Mr. Awassam Bassey, the embattled CJN, said he would as part of his duties, swear in members of the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship & State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals on Saturday.
The social media was awash with unconfirmed reports that Justice Onnoghen who is facing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, over his alleged failure to properly declare his assets, had on Thursday evening, succumbed to pressure and relinquished his position as both the CJN and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The move would have seen the second ranking jurist at the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Mohammed, taking over as the acting CJN, an application the Federal Government has already made before the CCT.
However, Justice Onnoghen urged Nigerians to disregard the rumour, saying he was in his office and also presided over cases on Thursday.
“There is absolutely no truth in the rumours making the round that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has resigned his office. It is fake news!
“The Hon CJN was in the office all through yesterday (Thursday) and sat in court. As part of his duties, the Hon CJN will be swearing in members of the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship & State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals tomorrow (Saturday 26th January 2019)”, Bassey stated.
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal had on Thursday suspended further proceedings in the six-count charge the Federal Government preferred against the CJN before the CCT.
The appellate court ordered the Mr. Danladi Umar’s led three-member tribunal to temporarily hands-off the matter till January 30, a date it fixed to deliver ruling on an appeal the embattled CJN lodged to challenge both the competence of the charge and jurisdiction of the CCT to entertain same.
It will be recalled that the CCT had in a two to one split decision, adjourned till next week Monday to continue with the trial, despite four separate interim injunctions from different High Courts and the National Industrial Court, restraining all the parties from taking further steps in the matter, pending determination of legal issues sorrounding the legal propriety of the tri