It’s quite saddening and abhorrent to hear that the CCT has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of CJN Walter Nkanu Onnoghen.
For God’s sake, this is bordering on the vendetta, the ridiculous and trivialization of the judicial process. I condemn this unwholesome step which puts the CCT in the public domain as being on a vengeful and extra- legal mission against the CJN. It must be pointed out that this latest step by the CCT which has argued it is solely under the president and not under the judiciary, appears to be teleguided by the dictatorial Executive, especially the presidency. These are my reasons for this strong view:
- The NJC has since taken over the investigation of the CJN as provided for in sections 153,158,291,292 (2) and section 21, parts A and B to the 3rd schedule to the Nigerian Constitution.
- The EFCC has since written a petition against the same NJC, using the same evidence as that before the CCT.
- The CCT has itself adjourned the CJN’s matter for argument on whether it even has jurisdiction at all to hear the case against the CJN.
- There are at least 4 Court orders directing the CCT to halt further proceedings.
- The CJN has not yet been physically arraigned before the CCT on the charges filed such as to give the CCT and jurisdiction over the CJN.
- Under the Provisions of the ACJA, a person such as Justice Walter, can even be tried in absentia. He therefore does not therefore have to be humiliated by being bundled to the court for arraignment like a common criminal. So, it is not a question of one being above the law.
- By virtue of section 8 of the ACJA, every suspect is to be accorded humane treatment, with dignity and no suspect is to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
- By virtue of section 3(d) of the CCB/CCT Act, the CJN ought not to have been charged at all before the CCT, given his admission of mistaken non full compliance with the declaration of his assets. The section provides that he shall not be charged before the CCT once he admits noncompliance. The matter ends there, as he shall be made to comply by being given fresh forms to fill and make full disclosure.
- The earlier order made by the CCT that the CJN shall step aside has since been appealed against to the Court of Appeal and the appeal ought to be allowed to run its full course.
It is very clear to me that the CJN is being mob-lynched by the government and a section of the compromised or uninformed members of the public; is being harassed, intimidated and deliberately, painted with the paint brush of shame, all with a view to present a fait accompli as to why he must quit the seat of CJN. It is to put him in the moral dilemma of being unworthy to continue to occupy the exalted position of the CJN. This is therefore a complete travesty of justice, subversion of constitutionalism, breach of his fundamental rights and the Executive’s unwarranted incursions into the sacred realm of the judiciary, contrary to the hallowed doctrine of separation of powers ably propounded by Baron de Montesque, the great French Philosopher, in 1748.I hereby call upon the CCT to exercise extreme caution and be mindful of the irretrievable damage it is doing to our constitutional democracy. It was some Justices in October, 2016. It was the turn of the NASS, especially the Senate, Saraki, Melaye, etc. Then, it became the turn of the media. Remember Trust newspaper invasion? Now, it is Justice Walter Onnoghen. Who next, no one can tell. But, we know those who will never be touched with harassment or investigation: members of this government, inner circle, the cabal, their friends, family members, acolytes, minions, friends, bootlickers, defectors, cheer leaders, etc. Nigeria, we hail thee.
THE ZAMFARA WAHALA: A PARTY IN IMPLOSION
The battle by APC to field candidates for the GOVERNORSHIP, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, and STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY elections coming up on 16th of February and 2nd of March, 2019, were fully dashed on 13th February, 2019, by the Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto. It was presided over by Justice Jumai Hannatu Sankey. The other members of the panel were Justices Ndukwe Anyanwu and Vincent Abiru. The Court of Appeal upheld the argument of Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN and I.M Dikko, SAN, that the notice of discontinuance earlier filed on the 11th of February, by Hon Sani Jaji under Order 11 Rules 1 and 5 of the Court of Appeal Rules had completely extinguished the appeal upon which Muktar Shehu Idris’ Counsel, Mr Mahmud Magaji, SAN, had predicated his motion filed 8th February. The motion had prayed the Court of Appeal to grant him interlocutory orders for INEC to allow Muktar to contest the governorship and Governor Abdulaziz Yari to contest as a Senatorial candidate before the main appeal is heard. The Court of Appeal in dismissing Jaji’s withdrawn appeal also made consequential orders dismissing the motion of Governor Yari and Alhaji Muktar Shehu Idris amongst other Applicants who had asked to be allowed to contest the elections pending the hearing of the main appeal. The court agreed fully with Ozekhome who had cited several Supreme Court decisions and argued that once the appeal was discontinued, Yari and Muktar who had not cross appealed or asked for variation of the judgment under Order 9 of the Court of Appeal Rules cannot compel Hon Jaji to go on with his appeal, or predicate their prayers to be allowed to contest on a nonexistent appeal which had died upon discontinuance. The court therefore dismissed the appeal and the motion filed by Yari and Muktar praying the Court to be allowed to contest the upcoming elections. The judgment therefore validates the long held position by INEC that APC has no candidates in the 16th February NASS and 3rd March Governorship and State Assembly elections. INEC is right. It should stand by its decision.
It was therefore surprising to read that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, wrote to INEC, requesting it to postpone the Zamfara elections. It is not fair. The AGF is the chief law officer of the entire federation. He is not APC AGF. It was unfair of him to act solely for his APC ruling party to the detriment of the other over 60 political parties which had already mobilized for the elections. Section 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act which he cited are of no moment because those sections envisage a situation where there are no legal impediments. In the present Zamfara brouhaha, there are subsisting judgments in Zamfara and Abuja Federal High Courts. Appeals emanating from them are before the Court of Appeal, Abuja and Sokoto. Telling INEC to alterits well legally grounded position is to make a brazen attempt to circumvent the due process of law and give undue advantage to his APC party to obtain through the back door of postponement, what it has failed to achieve through the front door of voluntary litigation. That is quite sad.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike”. (Oscar Wilde).
Nigerians, as you begin a new week, continue to engage me on a weekly basis in the national conversation, whilst always awaiting explosive topics of Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike A.A. Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D.
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