Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, CFR (Commander of the Federal Republic) was born on December 22, 1950 at Okurike, Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State.
He attended the Presbyterian Primary School, Okurike, between 1959 and 1966.
He later proceeded to Accra, Ghana, where he attended Odorgorno Secondary School, Adabraka, between 1967 and 1972 for his West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Exams.
He was at Accra Academy, Ghana between 1972 and 1974 for his WAEC (A-Levels) before proceeding to the University of Ghana, Legon, between 1974 and 1977 to obtain his Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B (Hons)) and graduated with 2nd Class Upper Division and was among the best graduating students.
Onnoghen attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos between 1977 and 1978 for his B.L certificate.
He completed his compulsory National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) in July 1979.
His previous professional appointments/positions held include:
Pupil State Counsel, Lagos State, (1978 – 1979); Partner in the Law Firm of Effiom Ekong & Company, Calabar (1979 – 1988); Principal Partner/Head of Chambers of Walter Onnoghen & Associates, Calabar (1988 -1989); Chairman, Cross River State Armed Robbery and Fire Arms Tribunal (1990 – 1993); Chairman, Judicial Enquiry into the Crisis between Students of the University of Calabar and Obufa Esuk Orok Community, Calabar (1996); Chairman, Failed Banks Tribunal, Ibadan Zone (1998).
He was also High Court Judge, Cross River State Judiciary (1989 – 1998); Justice of the Court of Appeal (Nov 1998-June 2005) and was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (JSC) since 2005. He is also a justice of the Supreme Court of The Gambia.
A Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Fellow of the National Judicial Institute, Hon. Justice Onnoghen has attended several conferences and seminars within and outside Nigeria and presented scholarly papers.
He is a member of the Body of Benchers and Life Bencher; Chairman, Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, and Vice-Chairman, Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee among others.
Justice Onnoghen, who is currently the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, is married with children.