The Court of Appeal has rejected the application of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, citing that the case against him is criminal in nature.
A three-man panel, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, in a ruling, dismissed the application Onnoghen filed to that effect.
The court said, in view of the provision of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), it lacked the power to stay proceedings in criminal cases.
This is coming less than 24 hours after the National Judicial Council gave Onnoghen and the acting CJN appointed by President Buhari; Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, a-week ultimatum to respond to the allegations of corruption and professional misconduct levelled against them.
Due to the gravity of the allegations, the NJC abridged the time and gave the accused persons one week instead of the usual 14 working days to respond to the allegations, an indication that they may be sacrificed to restore sanctity in the highly revered arm of government.
The council asked Onnoghen to explain why he did not declare all his assets and Mohammed why he submitted himself for appointment without the involvement of the NJC. The body, with the powers to discipline erring judicial officers, held the emergency meeting principally to consider petitions written against the two most senior judicial officers in the country. Since the two are incidentally involved in the crisis, they expectedly recused themselves from the meeting.