The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Samuel, has given reason for not appearing before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Monday, January 14
Speaking on Monday concerning his absence, the CJN said that he was not served in person as provided by law – At the CCT trial, the CJN was represented by about 25 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and over 50 other lawyers Walter Samuel, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has refuted claims that he was served summons to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to face trial over alleged false asset declaration.
During the hearing on Monday, the CJN who was represented by about 25 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and over 50 other lawyers, said he was not served in person as demanded by the constitution. Substantiating the CJN’s position, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who led the defence team, stated that Section 123 (a) and 124 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) required personal service of the defendant in criminal matters.
Moreover, Olanipekun asked the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case He further said that the defendant was not served with leave of court containing the date for the arraignment. “Our appearance here is on protest. We are not yet at the stage of trial,” he said. As a result of the submission, Justice Danladi Umar, the chairman of the tribunal asked the court registrar for the report of service of summons on the CJN.
The registrar told the court that the CJN, on Friday, January 11, directed him to serve his personal secretary with the summons on his behalf. There was drama when the chairman of the tribunal said the rule allows service on the defendant’s next door neighbour. Olanipekun was shocked that service in a criminal matter can be served on a neighbour without an order of court for substituted service to that effect. Aliyu Umar, the prosecution counsel, asked the court to order the trial of the defendant before any objection is raised.
Meanwhile The Federal High Court in Abuja stopped federal government from arraigning the chief justice, Walter Onnoghen – Ruling on two separate ex parte applications, the court ordered parties to maintain status quo till January 17 – The presiding judge ruled that the defendants, the federal government, should be served with all the papers filed and should appear in court at the next hearing – The ruling came shortly after the CCT adjourned the trial of Justice Onnoghen till January 22 The Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the federal government’s plan to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The federal government through the Code of Conduct Bureau filed six count charge of non-declaration of assets against the CJN. However, Justice N.E Maha of Federal High Court, in Abuja, ruling on two separate ex parte applications, ordered parties to maintain status quo till January 17, The Punch reports.
Justice Maha ruled in the two different suits that the defendants should be served with all the papers filed and they should appear in court at the next hearing. One of the two suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was filed by incorporated trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative. Those joined as defendants in the suit, the Attorney-General of the Federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, the chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar; the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, and the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki.
The other suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 was filed by the incorporated trustees of the International Association of Students Economists and Management. The suit has as the defendants, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malami; the CCT, the CCB, the Chairman of CCT, Umar; and the Inspector-General of Police, Idris. While the ex parte application in the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/27/2019 was moved by R.A Lawal-Rabana (SAN), before Justice Maha on Monday, the ex parte application filed in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 was moved by Jeph Njikonye. Justice Maha ruled at the Federal High Court that no steps should be taken in respect of the trial until January 17 when all parties to the two suits should return to court for the hearing of the plaintiffs’ motion on notice.