Justice Inyang Ekwo of Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday ordered President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and three others from taking any steps aimed at removing the Chief Justice of The Federation (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen from office on the allegation by the federal government that he (Onnoghen) failed to declare his assets.
Ruling on an ex parte motion filed o Monday by the Action Peoples Party, Justice Ekwo seeking to stop the removal of Onnoghen as the CJN pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit, held that, “parties must observe the rule of law by not doing anything that would tamper with the red (subject matter) in this matter, pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
The court also held that the request by the plaintiff for an order abridging the time within which the defendants may file their counter affidavit to the substantive originating summons to a period of seven days from the date of service as well as an order of accelerated hearing and determination of the substantive originating summons will be granted upon hearing of other parties in the natter.
Justice Ekwo, while adjourning hearing of the motion on notice till January 29, 2019, ordered that defendants in the natter, including Justice Onnoghen, Justice Ibrahim Tanko, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the CCT chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar be put on notice why they should not be stopped from removing Onnoghen as CJN and replacing him with Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed.
Meanwhile, Justice Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court in Abuja, last week insisted that the interim order of the Court directing parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of two substantive suits seeking to stop Onnoghen’s trial at the CCT subsist and adjourned the separate suits to January 28, 2019, for hearing.
The Incorporated Trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative and the Incorporated Trustees of International Association of Students had, in their separate suit seeks to atop the arraignment of the CJN over assets declaration.