Assets declaration: Onnoghen’s illness stalls trial

•As tribunal adjourns till March 18

The trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen was on Tuesday stalled at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Abuja, following the recommendation of his doctor that he should have 72 hours bed rest on account of his rising blood pressure.

Onnoghen is being prosecuted by the federal government on a six-count charge, bordering on failure to declare some of his assets as required by law for public office holders.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail by the tribunal on self-recognition.

When the matter was called yesterday, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who led a team of lawyers for the defence, informed the Tribunal that Onnoghen’s absence in court was as a result of the toothache he is suffering from and the advice by the doctor that he should have  72 hours bed rest as his blood pressure has gone up to 210/121.

Awomolo then tendered a medical report from Ideal Medical Services, Abuja where the defendant was said to have been treated.

The medical report signed by one Dr Francis Uche, the Medical Director of the hospital recommended among others that Onnoghen must observe 72 hours bed rest for his high blood pressure to be properly monitored.

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Reacting to the development, the prosecution counsel,  Aliu Umar (SAN), admitted been served with the medical report and informed the tribunal that the issue of health is paramount in any human endeavour.

He, however, applied that the trial be adjourned till Monday, March 18, 2019, to enable Onnoghen to have sufficient rest as recommended by his doctor.

The prosecution counsel said although his witnesses were in court and that he was ready to proceed with the trial, he, however, said that he had to concede to an adjournment because of the importance of the health of the defendant.

In a short ruling, the three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Danladi Yakubu Umar adjourned till Monday, 18th March 2019 to commence the trial of the suspended CJN.

It could be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended Onnoghen and appointed Justice Ibrahim Muhammad Tanko as acting CJN on the strength of an exparte order by the CCT.