11: 44 am Onnoghen: Code of Conduct Tribunal adjourns to March 11 for hearing of all pending applications
Amid amusing displays by the Chairman of the Code of Tribunal, Danladi Umar, the tribunal on Friday, adjourned the trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on charges of non-declaration of assets, till March 11.
The tribunal chairman had earlier insisted on adjourning the matter till February 21 in defiance to an agreement between the prosecuting team led by Ibrahim Musa and the defence team led by Chris Uche (SAN).
Defying the the pleas by both the prosecution and the defence to shift ground to either March 18 or 11 which they had agreed on, the tribunal chairman kept shaking his head and contorting his lips in disagreement and in a manner that continually threw everyone in the court into intermittent laughter.
With his face squeezed in an amusing manner, Umar turned sideways to confer with the two other members of the tribunal seated on his left and right sides.
After a relentless plea by the defence and the prosecution that he should allow the March 2 governorship and House of Assembly to be over before the next sitting, the tribunal chairman agreed to adjourned till March 11.
The March 11 proceedings are for the hearing of all pending applications by both the defence and the prosecution.
The pending applications includes one by Onnoghen challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear the charges.
Onnoghen had earlier on Friday pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him by the federal government.
Speaking with journalists after the proceedings on Friday, Onnoghen’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uce (SAN), said with the arraignment of the topmost judicial officer, “It is a very said day for democracy, a very sad day for Nigeria.
“It is a struggle for the maintenance of the due process and it is a struggle for separation of powers.
“The CJN had to suffer the dignity of coming before this tribunal to take his plea.
“But we are happy that the world will now know the truth that there is more to this case.”
Part Four (concluded)
▶Defendant pleads not guilty to all 6 Counts as contained in the Charge
▶Defence applies for bail of Defendant on self-recognisance especially in light of discharge of bench warrant
▶Defence Lead Counsel, Chris Uche indicates that he will be voting at his Constituency outside Abuja, and seeks an adjournment till after the elections to enable him travel for purposes of voting. States that the business of the next date would be hearing of pending applications.
▶Tribunal grants Defendant bail on self recognisance and adjourns to 11 March 2019 for Hearing of pending Applications.
▶There was a lot of drama before the 11 March 2019 date was given. Both counsel had discussed and agreed on either 11 or 18th March 2019, but the Tribunal Chair insisted on hearing the matter next week. It took a lot of plea from both counsel before the Charge was adjourned to 11 March 2019. The important thing is, case is adjourned to 11 March.
11: 23: am CCT withdraws arrest warrant against Onnoghen as he pleads not guilty
The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has pleaded not guilty to the six counts of non-declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.
He was immediately granted bail on self-recognisance by the tribunal following a short oral application by the defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN).
After the bail was granted, Uche also applied to the tribunal to adjourn to a date after the general elections.
The request was granted but a date has yet to be picked as of the time of filing this report.
Before the charges were read to him, the suspended CJN’s lead counsel, Uche, applied to the tribunal to withdraw the arrest warrant issued by the CCT against the defendant earlier on Wednesday.
Ruling on the application, the tribunal chairman, agreed with the defence lawyer.
The CCT chairman ordered the withdrawal of the arrest warrant due to Onnoghen’s voluntary submission to the tribunal on Friday.
But he added that the order of arrest was withdrawn on the condition that the suspended CJN would continue to be present in court throughout the period of his trial.
10: 50 am: ONOGHEN—Onnoghen enters the dock
*Rejects chair given him to sit
*Preferred to stand in the dock
The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Friday, entered the dock to answer to the charges of non-declaration of charges instituted against him.
His lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN), announced the presence of Onnoghen shortly after the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar led two other members to the courtroom at about 10.34am.
Onnoghen entered the dock at about 10.37am after Uche told the tribunal of his presence.
He was offered a seat following an instruction by the tribunal chairman but he chose to remain standing.
He remained standing with a smiling face while the prosecution and defence legal teams announced their appearance.
Onnoghen wore transparent glasses with black frame.
Friday was the first time he made a public appearance since January 25 when President Muhammadu Buhari suspended him.
He voluntarily arrived the Code of Conduct Tribunal at about 9.40am on Friday following Wednesday’s order by the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, for his arrest.
Onnoghen who arrived in his official vehicle with tinted glass and covered number plate did not step out of the car until about 10.19am.
He entered the courtroom and was seated with two of his lawyers on either side of him.
He was decked in a suit with an inner shirt and a yellow tie.
The three members of the tribunal arrived to begin sitting at about 10.34 am.
CCT commences sitting
▶Defence had applied even before announcing appearances that the Defendant be allowed to take his plea from outside the Dock. The Chairman will have none of that and refused the application.
▶Defence reminds Tribunal that it has pending application but that it was the Tribunal’s view that the Defendant must appear and consequently, a warrant of arrest was issued. Applies that the bench warrant in respect of the Defendant be discharged the Defendant having appeared voluntarily and before the actual execution of same.
▶Tribunal writing a Ruling on application to discharge Bench Warrant
▶Tribunal grants application and sets aside the Bench Warrant on the condition that the Defendant must henceforth make himself available for further proceedings.
▶Charge now being read to the Defendant
▶Tribunal Chair stops Clerk from reading Charge after he had read only 1 of the Counts. Asks Defence whether it would prefer that applications be taken first. Defence says that as Defendant is already present the Defendant’s plea should be taken first.
CCT commences sitting
▶Picture taking only ended when one of the young lawyers shouted “It is okay”. The press people have now been cleared out and we are all just waiting for the Tribunal to start sitting.
▶Tribunal now sitting
▶Tribunal apologises for keeping us waiting for ” a little while”
▶Musa Ibrahim, Principal State Counsel & 6 Others for Prosecution
▶Chief Chris Uche & 7 other Senior Advocates appear for Defendant. Now taking appearance of the non-Senior Advocates for the Defendant.
FRN V. CJN ONOGHEN
Updates for 15 February 2019
▶Tribunal about to start sitting
▶All the Senior Advocates present have stepped out of the Court Room ostensibly to lead the Defendant into the Court Room
▶Registrars have taken their place
▶Justice Onnoghen is in the Court Room
REVEALED: 3 natural ways to get stronger erections, last 25 minutes on bed, and increase manhood size without using drugs. Also, Natural Prostrate Enlargement Remedy.. Get In HERE...
Send your press release/articles to: email@example.com, Click here Subscribe to our BBM Channel: C01142506 Follow us on Twitter at @Nigerialawyers and Facebook at facebook.com/thenigerialawyer