Amidst much controversy trailing his suspension, the chief justice of Nigeria justice Walter Onnoghen, has filed an application before the code of conduct tribunal demanding the disqualification of the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar as he also gives insight on the source of wealth
The motion notice dated Monday, February 4, 2019, was brought pursuant to Rule 12(1) and (1A) of the Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the tribunal.
The motion was signed by Chris Uche (SAN), Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), Okon Efut (SAN), Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), Noah Abdul and George Ibrahim.
Onnoghen is “seeking an order of this honourable tribunal for the honourable chairman of the tribunal, Honorable Danladi Umar, to disqualify/recuse himself from further participating in the adjudication of this case on the grounds of real likelihood of bias.”
The defence said Umar had “constructively convicted the CJN sought to be arraigned before him without either hearing from him or his being formally arraigned.”
The applicant noted that the CCT chairman directed President Mohammadu Buhari to suspend the CJN and appoint Justice Tanko Muhammad without recourse to the constitution or the National Judicial Council.
Onnoghen noted that on January 23, 2019, the CCT boss entertained a motion ex parte which was not moved by any known prosecutor.
The CJN said Umar had a pending case before the EFCC and was therefore subject to blackmail and threats from the executive arm of government which could impair his ability to be a fair arbiter.
He added, “The learned chairman of the CCT (Hon Danladi Umar) is a tainted arbiter by reason of a criminal charge at the instance of the EFCC for receiving bribe money in the sum of N10m in charge number: CR/109/18 in FCT High Court by an organ under the supervision of the Attorney General of the Federation.
“Incidentally, he (AGF) is the prosecutor and complainant in this matter such that with such a sword of Damocles hanging over him, and himself not just recusing himself from a quasi-judicial function, he is himself not likely to be a fair arbiter, but instead more likely to trade in the charges against him in a quasi-plea bargaining in the charge against him and enter summary conviction in this proceedings to please the prosecutor.
“The applicant (Onnoghen) has no confidence in the chairman of the tribunal to do justice fairly between parties in this case as he is a man on a mission to please his masters the statement added
In the issue surrounding his sources of funds, the chief justice of Nigeria also gives a pointer at agriculture as source of his wealth with a petition to the inspector general of police, over alleged threat to the lives of workers on his farm in Masaka, Nassarawa state, a copy to which was obtained by urban express news online.
Online media was awash with details of the said hidden accounts with insulation that the hefty cash could be proceed of illicit transaction
Comments on urban express news online fan page platform yesterday tilted toward Onnoghen complains about herdsmen’s attract on his farm where many believe might be a strategy of explaining the source of his wealth.
In the petition dated February 2 and filed February 4, his counsel, Mr Ogwu Onoja, SAN, said his client, the CJN informed him that “some men who appeared to be herdsmen were at the farm yesterday afternoon and also later at night, inquiring about the owner of the farm and issued frightening threats to the farmers.