Olisa Agbakoba, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the arrest warrant against Walter Onnoghen, suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), is a step taken too far.
On Wednesday, the CCT ordered the nation’s security agencies to arrest Onnoghen for failing to appear before it.
Onnoghen, who is being prosecuted by the federal government for alleged false assets declaration, has not been at the tribunal despite being summoned.
Reacting to the arrest warrant issued against Onnoghen, Agbakoba said the CCT subverted due process and the rule of law.
He argued that the tribunal ought to have waited till the application challenging its jurisdiction to entertain the matter has been heard.
“I am shocked that the Code of Conduct Tribunal will issue a Bench warrant for the arrest of Hon. Justice Walter Onnogen, knowing full well that its jurisdiction to try the case has been challenged and the Application on challenge is on the CCT docket, and no hearing has occurred,” Agbakobs said.
“The CCT is aware that there is now before the National Judicial Council, a petition against Justice Walter Onnogen on exactly the same charges at the CCT. The CCT ought to await the outcome of the pending matters in the NJC, Appeal Court and Federal High Court.
“The conduct of the CCT subverts the Rule of Law and due process.”
The United Nations had said the decision of President Muhammadu to suspend Onnoghen, was in contravention of human rights standards.