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Onnoghen absent as trial resumes

The Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen’s trial has resumed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.

The resumption followed last Wednesday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal which dismissed the application filed by the suspended CJN seeking to stop his trial.

During the trial, Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, and counsel to Justice Walter Onnoghen exchanged words over adjournment request by the defendant.

The suspended CJN, who for the third time, failed to appear before the tribunal to defend the six-count charge entered by the Federal Government against him, had through his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awolowo, SAN, urged the tribunal to temporarily suspend the trial since the National Judicial Council, NJC, is already seized of facts of the matter.

“I humbly pray your Lordships to tarry for awhile so that the defendant will not suffer double jeopardy. “It is in the interest of justice to also the NJC to take a decision before proceeding with the case. I believe that the integrity of this tribunal will be further enhanced if this application is granted”, Awolowo added.

Though the prosecution counsel, Alhaji Aliyu Umar, said he was not opposed to the adjournment request, he however decried what he termed as “consistent absence” of the suspended CJN at the tribunal.

Umar who suggested that the matter should be adjourned till Thursday, warned that FG would not hesitate to wield its powers and apply for an arrest warrant, should Justice Onnoghen fail to appear on that date.

“If he fails to appear on that day, we will be forced to apply for a bench warrant”, Umar submitted.

The panel adjourned the case till Wednesday, next week.

Justice Onnoghen is being tried for allegations of non-declaration of assets.

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