*Asks FG to terminate criminal proceedings against CJN
*Says It’s Wrong To Apply Executive Order 6
Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has asked the federal government to terminate the criminal proceedings against Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria.
The Code of Conduct Bureau had filed a six-count charge of false assets declaration against Onnoghen after a petition by the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), a civil society group.
The federal government also asked the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to freeze five bank accounts of Onnoghen.
Falana said the “prosecution of judicial officers has to be conducted by the NJC before being subjected to criminal proceedings.”
He added that the Presidential Executive Order 6 does not authorise the freezing of accounts or assets of any defendant who has been charged with financial crime or the contravention of the code of conduct for public officers.
The human right lawyer noted that since the charge is pending at the Code of conduct Tribunal, the defense counsel is not permitted by law to resort to self help under the guise of preserving the criminal proceedings.
“Since it has now been confirmed that President Mohammadu Buhari was not taken into confidence before the charge was filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau, it is high time that the federal government terminated the criminal proceedings and advised the petitioner to submit his complaint to the National Judicial Council (NJC), ” he said in a statement.
“Personally, I have had cause to criticise the judgment. But until it is set aside by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the discipline of judicial officers has to be conducted and concluded by the NJC before they are subjected to criminal proceedings.
“However, since the charge is pending before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, neither the Prosecutor nor the Defence Counsel is permitted by law to resort to self help under the pretext of preserving the res or the subject matter of the criminal proceedings.
“Even though the Presidential Executive Order No 6 of 2018 has been validated by the Federal High Court it does not authorise the freezing of the bank accounts or assets of any defendant who has been charged with economic or financial crime or the contravention of the code of conduct for public officers.”