The Federal Government has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen to vacate office over his alleged refusal to declare his assets.
Vanguard reports that in a move to force Justice Onnoghen out of office, the Federal Government will on Monday January 14, 2019 arraign him before the Justice Danladi Yakubu led- Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on charges of failures to declare his assets as required by law and for operating Bank Domiciliary Foreign Currency Accounts.
The charge sheet was filed and served to the CJN at his official residence in Abuja yesterday Friday January 11th, preparatory for his appearance at the tribunal. The Federal Government among others is accusing Justice Onnoghen of refusing to declare his assets which is a breach of the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
Onnoghen has also being accused of maintaining Domiciliary foreign currencies account which comprised Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account which are alleged to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.
Apart from putting the Chief Justice in the dock on Monday, the motion on notice is to be filed against him praying the tribunal to order him to vacate office and recuse himself office so as to prevent alleged interference in his arraignment and trial. The report says a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, names withheld, has been employed to represent the Federal government in court.
Meanwhile, eminent lawyers have volunteered to represent Onnoghen in court.
Justice Onnoghen whose appointment suffered unprecedented delay by President Muhammadu Buhari over undisclosed issues may be the first CJN in Nigeria to be arraigned for criminal charges by the Federal Government.
Onnoghen was sworn into office by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in March 2017.
It would be recalled the President of the Senate of Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki was in 2015 shortly he emerged the Head of the Legislature arraigned at the tribunal but the charges against him were quashed and he was discharged and acquitted by the tribunal on the ground that the charges against him by government were based on hearsay that could not stand in the face of the law.
Saraki’s discharge and acquittal was upheld by the Supreme Court under the leadership of Justice Onnoghen.