* Says Federal Government Erred, But There Is A Method In Their Erring
* Questions Why Supreme Court Took Up Gubernatorial Elections Matters
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke, has said that he supports the Federal Government’s probe of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Mr. Clark made this statement whilst speaking on a Channels’ Television Program, #PoliticsToday, with the title, “CBB v. Walter Onnoghen – Allegations Against The CJN”.
According to him, there are two sides to the CJN trial; the legal and political side. He noted that one would not think that the Federal Government or the Attorney General of the Federation is naïve not to know the position of the law as of today, before arraigning Justice Onnoghen before the Tribunal, adding that, the position of the law is clear.
Speaking further, he said that he took to the Court of Appeal, the matter on the appropriate procedure to employ in trying a sitting judge, wherein a profound finding was made. He added that part of the findings was that the Executive cannot take such a Judge from his chambers straight to the Tribunal without due process. According to him, where a judge is suspected to be guilty of any form of misconduct, the proper body to first hear the matter is the National Judicial Council. He also stressed that misconduct includes fallacious act, and that, it is after the NJC has de-robed the erring judge first, before he can be taken to any court for trial.
Speaking on the propriety of the actions of the Federal Government, the learned Silk said that though the Federal Government erred, there is a method in the erring and that is where the politics of the matter comes in.
“The Federal Government erred: there is a method in the erring, and that is where the politics of the matter comes in. The political aspect of it is that they believe that this is the only way for us to know that there is something wrong in the Supreme Court.”
He, therefore, asked how come the Chief Justice of Nigeria has so many accounts with such an amount of money in them. He further stressed that he agrees with the Federal Government, and that what they can’t get from the Tribunal, they are now getting from public opinion.
“Where did he get all the money in his account? I have been practicing law for over 50 years; I don’t think I have up to 10,000 US dollars in my foreign account. I agree with the Federal Government. What they can’t get from the Tribunal, they are now getting from public opinion,” he said.
Mr. Clarke also spoke on the suspected corruption in the Judiciary. Citing a young learned silk, he said that the Supreme Court of Nigeria is the most over-worked court in the whole World. He went further to quiz why the Supreme Court now takes over gubernatorial elections matters, when initially it was the job of the Court of Appeal as the Apex court for such matters.
“Because of the Salami Saga, Supreme Court took up jurisdiction. This is the brain work of politicians. The Politicians have been corrupting judges,” he added.
He, however, clarified that he is not saying that the totality of the Judiciary is corrupt, but that the Supreme Court is, on political matters.
Speaking on the injunction granted by the High Court restraining the Code of Conduct Tribunal to hear the matter, Mr. Clarke asked why lawyers should run to the High Court for jurisdiction. Flawing the move, he said that a panel was once headed by Onnoghen, where it was decided that with respect to the breaching of the code of conduct by public officers, the CCT is the highest court for that matter.
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