Breaking: Buhari suspends Onnoghen

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President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and appointed Justice Ibrahim Tanko as acting CJN to replace him.

SOurces have revealed to Today’s Echo that President Buhari announced the suspension at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said the suspension followed the order of the CCT directing him to suspend Onnoghen, pending the completion of his trial.

The President has swore in Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN.

Presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad was one of the first to break the news via Twitter on Friday afternoon.

Onnoghen is currently standing trials at the Code of Conduct Tribunal(CCT) over alleged failure to declare some of his assets, including some foreign bank accounts.

The Federal Government had in a six-count charge filed at the CCT on January 11 accused Onnoghen of failure to declare his assets between June, 2005 and December, 2016 contrary to provisions of section 15(1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap C15 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 23(2) a, b, and c of the same Act.

In the charge, the CJN was alleged to have failed to declare a domiciliary (US Dollar) account No. 870001062650 maintained with Standard Chartered Bank (Nig.) Ltd. Wuse 2, Abuja which is being operated since 2011.
The CJN was also accused of not declaring a domiciliary (Pound Sterling) account No.285001062679 maintained with the same Standard Chartered Bank (Big).

Onnoghen had failed to appear at the tribunal during the last hearing on January 22. This was after the first hearing on January 14, where his defence team; led by legal luminary Wole Olanipekun was introduced.

The allegations by the Federal Government against Onnoghen and his ongoing prosecution has sparked controversy, with many regarding it as persecution. The high-handed approach employed by the government in handling the matter has also cast doubts on the sincerity of its intentions.

Is this a move against corruption or an attempt to silence the Judiciary?

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