The counsels to suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria,
Justice Walter Onnoghen, have to Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari
that though some of the allegations levelled against their learned colleague
may be true, there is no iota of truth in the claim that he owns 50 houses.
Onnoghen’s lawyers, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, met Kyari on Thursday. The purpose of their visit was to work out modalities that will prevent Onnoghen from being arraigned on Monday.
Onnoghen has already been served with a notice of hearing by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which means by law he is mandated to appear at the CCT on Monday.
“Our aim is to protect the exalted office of the CJN. The CJN must not sit in the dock on Monday, because doing such will demystify that office. The National Judicial Council is already attending to the case and a decision will be taken next week.
“All we are asking is that the case on Monday be delayed until after the NJC has made recommendations and in the event that he is recommended for dismissal, let him resign honourably and let the charges against him be withdrawn,” an anonymous counsel reportedly said.
The source said Kyari was told that although the allegation that the CJN failed to declare the assets in question was true, it was not true that Onnoghen had 50 houses as reported by some sections of the media.
He said, “Kyari said he would relay our message to the President. However, he did not hesitate to inform us that the President did not want Onnoghen back as the head of the nation’s judiciary.”