By Bukola Olasanmi
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Monday adjourned till February 13, the trial of suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The adjournment was sequel to an oral application by counsel to Onnoghen, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN.
Onnoghen is yet to be arraigned on a six count charge bordering on non disclosure of his assets preferred against him by the Federal Government.
The tribunal had last Friday fixed Monday February 4 for the arraignment of the suspended Chief Justice as well as the hearing of all pending applications, shortly after the Court of Appeal in Abuja, dismissed Onnoghen’s motion on notice seeking a temporary stoppage of his trial at the tribunal, pending the determination of his suit challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
When the matter was called Monday, Prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar, SAN, informed the court that the matter was adjourned to today for arraignment and hearing of two motions, one on preliminary objection to jurisdiction of the CCT and one filed by the prosecution asking for an order for the CJN to step aside.
However, defence Counsel, led by Awomolo, drew the tribunal’s attention to the fact that the same petition forwarded to the Code of Conduct Bureau by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has been forwarded to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Awomolo said since the NJC had sent the same petitions to the defendant to reply within seven days which will lapse on Wednesday, February 6, it is in the interest of Justice to allow NJC take a decision before continuing with the proceedings at the tribunal.
Prosecution counsel, however, said he was not opposed to the application for adjournment.
In a short ruling, tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter till February 13 for the arraignment of Onnoghen and the hearing of all pending applications.
He however urged the defence team to ensure that the defendant physically appear in court at the next adjourned date, adding that “plea must be taken before the defendant can raise any objection regarding the case”.