Lawyers representing the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen, visited the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, as part of moves to stop the arraignment of the embattled CJN.
Sources disclosed that the visit to Kyari by the team, was led by Onnoghen’s Lead Counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who was a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.
Olanipekun was also President Muhammadu Buhari’s Lead Counsel, when he faced accusations of certificate forgery in court.
One of the Lawyers revealed that the main aim of the meeting, was to stop Onnoghen’s arraignment, on Monday.
Already, Onnoghen has been served with a notice of hearing by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, which means by law, he is mandated to appear at the CCT, on Monday.
A source at the meeting said: “We met with Abba Kyari, around 10pm, on Thursday, because we knew he would guarantee our access to the President.
“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and in the event that he is recommended for dismissal, let him resign honourably, and let the charges against him be withdrawn.”
The source added that, 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 Press.
He stated: “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.”
When asked if the visit would not appear as a perversion of justice, the source said: “The CCT is under the Presidency. The CCT Chairman is also facing charges of corruption by the EFCC. The way the CCT Chairman has been behaving, shows that Onnoghen’s coffin has already been nailed.”
Meanwhile, Onnoghen has been served with a hearing notice by the CCT.
The notice obtained, is dated January 31, 2019.
It reads in part: “Take notice that the above mentioned case (Federal Republic of Nigeria and Justice Onnoghen), has been listed for hearing at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, sitting at CCT Head Office/Court Complex, situated at Plot 89, Sector Centre B, Cadastral Zone B 16, Solomon Lar Way, beside FCT High Court, Jabi, Abuja, on February 4, 2018.”
Recall, that Onnoghen has been absent from the CCT, since the case started, on January 14.
However, with the notice of hearing now served on him, the suspended CJN must be present at the Tribunal on the next date.