The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Monday adjourned till January 22, the case against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, who was absent from the Monday’s proceedings.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Mr Aliyu Umar (SAN), had conceded as the trial was about to start that Onnoghen was not properly served with the charges and the summons.
Hence, the three-man team of the CCT led by Danladi Umar ruled that the tribunal would hear Onnoghen’s motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal at the next proceedings fixed for January 22.
Umar having conceded that CJN Onnoghen was not personally served with the charges and the court’s summons as required by the law, requested the CCT to direct a fresh service on the CJN.
Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the lead counsel stood in defence of Onnoghen when the tribunal chairman for the reason Onnoghen was absent from court, as he said he (Onnoghen) needed not to be present as he had filed a motion to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction to try him.
Olanipekun further said his presence in court alongside others who came in defence of Onnoghen was to protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal, as he also emphasised the fact that the CJN was not served with the charges and summons personally but through his aide.
Olanipekun thereby insisted that Onnoghen should be personally served, as that was required by law.
However, countering Olanipekun’s position. the prosecuting lawyer argued that the law only required the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, stating that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.