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CCT Orders Onnoghen’s Arrest, NJC Sets-Up Panel …To Investigate Suspended, Acting CJN

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has ordered the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of Police to arrest the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Delivering a ruling of the three-man tribunal, the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, ordered the security agencies to produce Onnoghen at the tribunal tomorrow..

He dismissed the objection raised to the application for the issuance of the arrest warrant and ordered that “I want to see the defendant in the dock on Friday”.

ýThe CCT had made the order following an application by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), who said the consistent absence of the CJN from the CCT was a violation of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Umar, who anchored his application for Onnothghen’s arrest on section 6(1) of the Practice Direction of the CCT, also opposed the call on the three-man tribunal by the lead defence counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), to hear all pending applications.

Umar maintained that by virtue of section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 no objections could be raised by the defendant until he took his plea.

The prosecuting counsel said Onnoghen having not taken his plea, the objection by him could not be heard.

Meanwhile the National Judicial Council has constituted a five-man panel to investigate the allegations levelled against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen, and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

The panel is to be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice S.A Akintan.

NJC’s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, said in a statement that the council took the decision after accepting “the result of the preliminary assessment of the petitions” written against the duo.

He said the council considered the “petitions to be worthy of further investigation and should not be terminated under Rule 17 of the Judicial Discipline Regulations o the Council”.

“Consequently, the council constituted a five-memberNJC Investigation Committee pursuant to Rule 20(1) of the Judicial Discipline Regulations under the chairmanship of Hon. Mr. Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria,” the statement said.

It added that a new petition was filed against Justice Muhammad by the Action People’s Parting, adding that the council gave the acting CJN “abridged seven days” for his “comments”.

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