The suspended embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has pleaded not guilty to the six counts of non-declaration of assets when he made his first appearance at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja, on Friday.
The CCT however, granted Onnoghen’s granted bail on self-recognisance after a brief oral application by the defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), who also applied to the tribunal to adjourn to a date after the general elections.
Granting the request, the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, adjourned Onnoghen’s trial till March 11.
Though Umar had, before announcing the adjournment date, insisted on fixing Onnoghen’s next appearance date for February 21, a date opposed to an agreement between the prosecuting team leader, Ibrahim Musa and the defence team led by Chris Uche (SAN).
But after both the defence and the prosecution counsel pleaded intensely that Umar should allow the March 2 governorship and House of Assembly elections to be over before the next sitting, the CCT chairman agreed to adjourn till March 11.
Before the charges were read to Onnoghen, his lead counsel, Uche, had applied to the CCT to withdraw the arrest warrant it earlier issued against the defendant on Wednesday, which the tribunal agreed to.
Consequently, the CCT chairman ordered the withdrawal of the arrest warrant as a result of Onnoghen’s voluntary submission to the tribunal on Friday.
However, Year warned that the order of arrest was withdrawn on the condition that Onnoghen would continue to personally appear in court throughout the period of his trial.