… as A-Court shifts hearing on suspended CJN’s appeal till Feb12
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri.
ABUJA– Chairman of the Standard Procedure Tribunal, CCT, being in Abuja, Mr. Danladi Umar, on Monday, provided reasons that the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, need to be arraigned over his supposed failure to state his possessions.
Umar who is heading the three-member panel tribunal, firmly insisted that it was lawfully incorrect for the suspended CJN, to remain far away, and query the proficiency of the charge versus him, in addition to jurisdiction of the CCT to amuse very same.
He stated the Supreme Court had on huge selection of chosen cases, held that an Offender in a criminal matter need to to start with install the dock and enter his plea to the charge, prior to any application might be heard.
Similarly counting on arrangements of the Administration of Lawbreaker Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, the CCT Chairman, kept that the panel would not hear Justice Onnoghen’s applications up until he is arraigned to enter his plea to the six-count charge the Federal Federal government chosen versus him.
Subsequently, Mr. Umar directed Justice Onnoghen’s legal group to make sure that he appeared prior to the tribunal next week Wednesday for arraignment.
” Under the ACJA, an Offender who is served with a charge and represented by attorneys, need to take his plea prior to raising any objection. I wish to state that the existence of the Accused is required at this tribunal.
” There are a number of choices of the Supreme Court to the result that plea of the Accused need to be taken prior to problem of proficiency of charge or jurisdiction is heard.
” The Accused has actually continued to keep away from this tribunal. I am going to give this adjournment at the circumstances of the prosecution and defence, however need to specify that the Accused should participate in court at the next adjourned date so that all the concerns will be fixed in his existence.
” The Accused should exist to enter his plea to the charge prior to any application will be taken”, the CCT employer mentioned.
On the other hand, previously in the case, Mr. Umar and counsel to the suspended CJN, Chief Adegboyega Awolowo, SAN, exchanged hot words over adjournment demand by the Accused.
Justice Onnoghen, who for the 3rd successive time, stopped working to appear prior to the tribunal to safeguard the charge versus him, had through his legal representative, prompted the tribunal to briefly suspend the trial considering that the National Judicial Council, NJC, has actually wadded into the matter.
Awolowo drew attention of the tribunal to the reality that the very same petition that sped up the charge versus his customer, is now prior to the NJC.
” In the scenario, I humbly hope your lordships to tarry for a while so that the Accused will not suffer double jeopardy.
” It remains in the interest of justice to permit the NJC to take a choice prior to continuing with the case. I think that the stability of this tribunal will be even more boosted if this application is given”, Awolowo included.
Though the prosecution counsel, Alhaji Aliyu Umar, stated he was not opposed to the adjournment demand, nevertheless, he decried what he described as “constant lack” of the suspended CJN at the tribunal.
Umar cautioned that FG would not think twice to wield its powers and get an arrest warrant, must Justice Onnoghen stop working to appear prior to the tribunal on the next adjourned date.
” If he stops working to appear on that day, we will be required to get a bench warrant”, he sent.
At this point, the tribunal Chairman demanded continuing with the trial by permitting the celebrations to argue the initial objection the suspended CJN submitted to challenge jurisdiction of the tribunal to attempt him.
He even more implicated Onnoghen’s legal representative of intentionally using hold-up strategies in a quote to irritate the trial.
Irritated by the remark, Onnoghen’s legal representative, who was purchased to take a seat, took on the CCT Chairman, advising him that he (Awomolo) is not a little kid at the Bar.
Awomolo worried that while it was important for attorneys to offer regard to the Bench, he sais Judges were likewise needed to appreciate themselves by reciprocating the gesture.
” I have actually invested over 45 years at the Bar and more than 25 years as an SAN. I will not stand and permit anybody to disrespect me in front of junior attorneys. I take major exception to that”, Awomolo fumed.
Not hindered, the CCT Chairman promised to go on with the trial.
” My position is that you need to move your application today, if you do not, I will ask the prosecution to move its own application for interlocutory injunction versus the accused”, the CCT employer mentioned.
In a quote to splash the stress, the prosecution counsel convinced the tribunal to stand-down the matter for about 30 minutes.
On the other hand, about 10 minutes after the stand-down, the panel reconvened and adjourned the case till next week Wednesday.
Prior to the adjournment, Onnoghen’s legal representative apologised to the CCT panel over his outburst.
” My lords, what took place couple of minutes back was a regrettable one. As a minister in the temple of justice, I wish to all the best apologise to the tribunal.
” There are occassions when this kind of concerns develop. I request for your forgiveness”, Awomolo pleaded.
Likewise, FG’s legal representative, Umar, tendered an apology on behalf of members of the bar.
In his remarks, the 2nd member of the CCT panel, Mr. William Atedze, stated the tribunal was likewise minded to apologise for the preliminary rejection to adjourn the matter as concurred by both the defence and the prosecution.
” Might, I, on behalf of the Chairman, likewise apologise to the celebrations. You understand the pressure this matter has actually created and we are still in the knowing procedure. We wish to ask forgiveness and to state that this kind of thing will never ever take place once again”, he included.
In an associated advancement, the Abuja Department of the Court of Appeal, on Monday, moved hearing on the appeal the suspended CJN lodged prior to it, till next week Tuesday.
A three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah, adjourned to allow it to combine various appeals depending the charge FG gotten in versus Justice Onnoghen.
When the matter was phoned for hearing, Onnoghen’s legal representative, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, drew attention of the court to the presence of various appeals that verge on the very same topic.
Justice Onnoghen who was suspended from workplace by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 25, had actually preceded the appellate court to challenge the treatment the tribunal embraced for his trial.
He challenged the choice of the CCT to hear the initial objection he lodged versus his trial, together with FG’s movement for an order of interlocutory injunction to force him to step aside as both the CJN and Chairman of the NJC.
Besides, Justice Onnoghen likewise lodged another interest query the legal proficiency of an ex-parte order the CCT released on January 23, which President Buhari trust to suspend him from workplace and designate the next ranking Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the Performing CJN.
Amongst his premises of appeal, Justice Onnoghen, argued that the Mr. Umar-led CCT erred in law by giving an ex-parte order for his elimination, even when its jurisdiction to amuse the six-count charge the federal government levelled versus him was being challenged.
He made an application for, “An order setting aside the order of the tribunal made on the 23 rd of January, directing the Appellant to step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and an additional order that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria takes all essential steps to swear-in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as Performing Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council”.
The suspended CJN argued that, “The workout of powers over the movement ex-parte without very first figuring out the jurisdiction of the tribunal totaled up to illegal workout of jurisdiction and for that reason v.