02:35 pm: CCT ADJOURNS TILL 28TH JANUARY Both counsel have agreed that the ongoing trial of CJN Justice Walter Onnoghen be adjourned to Monday 28th January 2019 for application on the jurisdiction of CCT to be determined before matter proceeds.
02:33 pm: Both counsel have agreed that the ongoing trial of CJN Justice Walter Onnoghen be adjourned to Monday 28th January 2019 for the application on the jurisdiction of the CCT to be heard and determined before matter proceeds.
02: 30 pm: The CCT Chairman says issues of jurisdiction is so important that it goes to the root of the matter. It has to be heard before any other application as requested by the Prosecution Team. He is asking both counsel if an adjournment to Friday is okay.
02: 27pm: Defence Counsel Wole Olanipekun says he wants to file a case on the counter-affidavit and service to the client including other issues hence there is little time to continue on the issue of jurisdiction at CCT. He is asking for an adjournment.
02: 19 pm: 3rd CCT Judge says she supports the ruling of the 2nd CCT Judge. Hence it is two CCT Members against the view of the CCT Chairman on the three-man panel. The case of jurisdiction is now being heard as court proceedings continue.
02: 08pm: “This matter should hereby adjourned sine dine until all issues related to jurisdiction are settled.” 2nd CCT Judge
“The CCT cannot operate in isolation. Judgments of court of competent jurisdiction, where they subsist, must be obeyed.” 2nd CCT Judge in his minority judgment.
2nd Member of CCT has minority view, says irrespective of the powers of CCT, all judgments against the Code of Conduct Tribunal must be obeyed as issued by different courts.
02: 06; pm: Holds that CCT has unqualified original jurisdiction to determine breach of code of conduct Abubakar v Aliyu. Holds CCT ranks equal to FHC & NIC. Holds that CCT is of coordinate jurisdiction as the others.
▶Says the persons who obtained the orders and busy bodies and in anycase are not before the CCT
▶Says by Section 306 of ACJA applications for stay of proceedings cannot be countenanced
▶Concludes that the Tribunal will not adjourn sine die
▶Points out that the process for removal of CCT Chair is more onerous than removal of President NIC & CJN. Says it goes to show how “powerful” the Tribunal is.
▶Therefore orders that Defence proceed to move their application challenging jurisdiction
01: 50 pm: CCT Chairman Danladi Umar says Tribunal has unqualified jurisdiction to hear all cases referred to it by CCB. Says it has coordinate jurisdictions with Federal High Court and National Industrial Court. Orders obtained by “busy bodies” are not binding .
o1;40pm: CCT HEARING RESUMES: Each of the three members of the CCT have individual ruling, according to the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar and that they would all read their individual decisions beginning with his own first before the remaining two members.
12:20; pm Just In: CCT ADJOURNS FOR ONE HOUR The CCT, has adjourned for one hour before it returns to give judgment on whether the case should be adjourned sine dine due to “lack of jurisdiction and court judgments”, as requested by the Defence Team.
12: 00 pm: .may we urge the honourable Tribunal to adjourn this matter sine dine.” Wole Olanipekun, SAN states after marshaling his points on behalf of the Defence Team for Justice Walter Onnoghen. His final submission.
11: 55 am: ▶Defence says that assuming without conceding that CCT is not bound by the High Court Orders refers to the Court of Appeal decisions and SC decisions earlier cited
▶Refers to Miscellaneous Tribunal of Inquiry v Okoroafor FWLR pt 81 in submitting that assuming this Tribunal is of coordinate jurisdiction as the FHC, FCTHC it still cannot overrule their decisions
▶Cites Section 246 (1) that says Appeals as of right lie from CCT to Court of Appeal. Refers also to Tribunal’s Ruling in CCT 01/ 2017 FRN v Sylvester Ngwuta where the Tribunal held that FRN v Ngajiwa decision is binding on it and upheld the principle of stare decisis
▶Distinguishes all cases cited by the Prosecution and and contends that they have no relevance to this matter. Describes the Ahmed v Ahmed case as a matter between husband and wife and touching on whether a public officer may engage in private business
11: 54 am: Olanipekun says it is not for prosecutor Aliyu to state “here at the Tribunal that the judgments of other courts have no effect on the CCT. He should go to those courts and challenge their powers to issue such orders that status quo be maintained.”
Olanipekun disagrees with prosecutor Aliyu, says the learned Justice Walter Onnoghen in his earlier judgment cautioned that CCT should not be seen as a superior court, during the FG vs Saraki case earlier quoted. That Aliyu may have misquoted.
11:53 am: Defence Counsel Olanipekun objects by stating that CCT has no jurisdiction to hear the case between FG and Justice Walter Onnoghen in first place so how can it issue a Bench Warrant of Arrest or orders when its power to hear case is being challenged?
11: 40 am: Prosecutor Aliyu insists that he has powers to seek for a Bench Warrant of Arrest to be issued against Justice Walter Onnoghen for absenting himself to take his plea (plead guilty or not guilty) “but I won’t for now”. Seeks continuation of case.
Prosecutor says the Independence of the CCT as a Tribunal has been established in the case between Federal Government and Bukola Saraki in 2018 as long as the Code of Conduct of public officials is concerned in Nigeria.
11: 37 am: The prosecution says it is set to file application asking Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen to step aside as CJN and Chairman NJC for his trial to continue smoothly as CCT is not subject to Federal High Court or National Industrial Court.
Prosecutor quotes Justice Onnoghen in a previous case where he stated in a judgment that the Code of Conduct Tribunal is not subject to the powers of any other court in the land hence Olanipekun’s call for other judgments to be respected is null.
Prosecutor Aliyu Umar says “due to the absence of the accused, we have the powers to ask that an arrest warrant be served on him (Justice Onnoghen) as the prosecution but we won’t do that as he is the Chief Justice of Nigeria.”
11:33 am: ▶Cites Rosec Case (1993) NWLR pt 312 per Bello JSC where SC held that Judgment remains binding until set aside by competent Court
▶Directs Court to excerpt that says whether order is null or void it must be obeyed until it is set aside
▶Refers to Section 287 (3) of the Constitution and submits that it enjoins all parties to enforce the decisions of the Courts and must be enforced and given effect by all persons
▶Cites Ngere v Okwuwute which referred to locus classicus case of Mil Governor Lagos State v Ojukwu and reads excerpt
▶In commending all the decisions to the Tribunal says Court of Appeal is now siesed of the matter and urges Tribunal to take cognisance of Mohammed v Olawunmi pt 287, page 254 at 281 per Olatiwura JSC..reads part where it says it amounts to ” judicial rascality and irresponsibility ” if a Judge of subordinate Court decides not to obey an order of a Court
▶Urges Tribunal to “respect, apply, enforce, comply with and give effect” to subsisting orders and take cognisance of Appeal and adjourn the proceedings sine die till the determination of the matters at the different High Courts and the Court of Appeal
11: 11 am: Defence says all orders have been served on parties. Informs Tribunal of letter of 18 January 2019 in which 1st Order of FHC per Maha J was also brought to Tribunal’s attention
▶Defence further informs Tribunal of its Appeal to the Court of Appeal on the order consolidating the two pending applications
▶Says Court of Appeal sat on appeal yesterday and the appeal is adjourned to Thursday for Hearing of the Motion for Stay of Further Proceedings @ CCT & acceleration of the Appeal
▶Defence says that Prosecution told Court of Appeal that there was no need for fresh order in view of orders of the various High Courts
▶Cites AG Anambra v AG Fed, Pt 606 says that orders of Courts of competent Jurisdiction must be obeyed until it is set aside.
10:50 am: ▶Defence also informs Tribunal of Peter Abang’s Suit before the NIC where CCT Chair is 2nd Defendant and CCB 3rd Defendant and interim order of 14 January 2019 restraining Defendants from proceeding further with Hearing of the Charge pending determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction
▶Defence informs Tribunal of 3rd Restraining Order from Valentine Ashi of FCT High Court in Inc Trustees of Foundation of Defence of Consumers Right v AGF & 6 Ors. Hon Chairman is 2nd Defendant in personal capacity & CCT Chair 3rd Defendant in official capacity..the Order mandates all parties to maintain status quo as at 15 January 2019 pending hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice
▶Defence informs Tribunal of 4th Order from Ekwo J of the FHC in which President FRN is 1st Defendant and CJN 3rd Defendant, CCT Chair is 5th Defendant. Ekwo’s order was made 21 January 2019 ordering parties to maintain status quo pending determination of the Motion on Notice fixed for 29 January 2019.
10;46 am ; Proceedings have commenced.
▶ Defendant absent..Aliyu Umar SAN & 9 Ors for Prosecution
▶Wole Olanipekun SAN & 33 other Senior Advocates for Defence. Chairman is now taking appearance of the other lawyers—non Senior Advocates— for Defence
▶Prosecution says business of the day is arraignment and pending applications. Pending applications are 1) Preliminary Objection challenging jurisdiction of Tribunal to hear Charge 2) Application for CJN to step aside
▶Prosecution says its obvious arraignment cannot take place in Defendant’s absence says last time Tribunal couldn’t proceed due to Defendant’s absence
▶Prosecution requests that the Tribunal inquire whether Defendant has been served with Charge
▶Defence gives an account of last day’s proceedings differs.. Says he is not aware that business of the day in arraignment. Reads Courts record where is states that business of the day is hearing of pending applications
▶Defence counsel informs Tribunal that there has been in any case intervening events, draws Tribunal’s attention to Exparte Order of the Federal High Court restraining the Defendant and Tribunal from taking any step that will interfere with the Res of the Suit before FHC pending determination of the Motion on Notice. Says life span of order has been further extended to 28 January 2019 when Motion on Notice will be heard.
10: 40 am: *NBA PRESIDENT (Paul Usoro, SAN) HAS DIRECTED IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF APPLICATION SEEKING TO JOIN NBA AS AN AMICUS CURIAE , SAYING THAT NBA IS NOT AWARE & DID NOT APPROVE THE FILING, OF ANY SUCH APPLICATION *
1⃣The NBA Leadership learnt this morning that there is an application purportedly filed on behalf of the NBA, and seeking CCT’s leave for NBA to join the case an amicus.
2⃣However, the NBA President has written to the NBA General Secretary, directing that the General Secetary should ensure that the application filed to join NBA as amicus is forthwith withdrawn at the CCT proceedings today. And it must not be moved as NBA never approved the filing of any such application, for the following reasons:
▶The NBA President and the NBA Leadership were not consulted prior to the filing of such application on their behalf. The NBA Leadership was not aware of the filing or any plans to file the application and did not give any directive for the filing of such application
▶The NBA Leadership has mever taken any decision to file any such application, neither was there any resolution to that effect from any organ of the NBA National Leadership
▶That the NBA President and the NBA Leadership is not aware of any provision under the Rules or in law for such application.
▶That appointment of amici is always at discretion of the court or tribunal.”
10: 35 am: Prosecution Team led by Aliyu Umar tells CCT that FG wants Justice Walter Onnoghen to step down as Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, NJC. Asks if accused has received the service. Prepared to file two applications if accused served #FGNVSONNOGHEN
10; 30 am: EMPTY DOCK AS ONNOGHEN IS ABSENT AT CCT: Proceedings kick off with CCT Chairman Danladi Umar and two other members presiding at resumed hearing of
#FGNvsONNOGHEN. But accused Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is absent at the tribunal for the second time.
10: 15 am: CCT CHAIRMAN ARRIVES, ONNOGHEN ABSENT: CCT Chairman Danladi Umar and two other members in court to begin proceedings at resumed hearing of
#FGNvsONNOGHEN case at CCT, Abuja. But accused Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is absent at the tribunal for the second time.
10;03 a: The application is couched as seeking leave for the NBA to appear as amicus curiae
▶Tribunal will sit at 10am as always.
▶Prosecution Counsel has just asked the CCT Registry whether there is an express positive order from Court of Appeal restraining them from proceeding with today’s business and they said No
09:55 am: SANs ARRIVE CCT: Senior lawyers like Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN appearing for Defence team; Aliyu Umar, SAN appearing for Prosecution Team; Joseph Gadzama, Wole Olanipekun, Adegboyega Awomolo etc all here’s at resumed hearing of #FGNvsONNOGHEN case at CCT, Abuja.
9;51am: Prosecution and Defence teams exchange greetings in the case between FG and Justice Walter Onnoghen as they await the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar to enter the courtroom and commence proceedings at resumed hearing today.
Information reaching TheNigerialawyer (TNL) reveals that Senior Lawyers, Police, and protesters have besieged the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in the Jabi district of Abuja, ahead of the resumed hearing of the case between FG and Justice Walter Onnoghen, CJN of Nigeria.
TNL also learnt that Journalists are also in their numbers at Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), along aside Senior lawyers and other legal teams.
TNL recalls that the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen, over the allegations of false declaration was adjourned to the 22nd day of January, 2019.
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