Appeal court halts Onnoghen’s CCT case

The court of appeal has ordered the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to stay proceedings in the case against Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).

A panel of the Abuja division of the appeal court led by Abdul Aboki directed the tribunal to stay proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the CJN’s application.

Wole Olanipekun, Onnoghen’s counsel, had told the court that the CCT had vowed not to comply with orders from other courts which it described as court of coordinate jurisdiction except that of the court of appeal.

He, however, emphasised on the issue of jurisdiction raised before the CCT, which according to him was ignored.

Olanipekun argued that if the application is not granted it would affect the judiciary in totality and also pose a threat to the country and the constitution.

Opposing Olanipekun, Oye Koleosho, counsel to the federal government, said the decision on whether to stay proceedings at the tribunal is at the discretion of the tribunal.

He drew the court’s attention to the fact that the lower tribunal adjourned the hearing of the application challenging its jurisdiction.

The three-man panel led by Aboki fixed January 30 to decide whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to hear the case against the CJN.

The CJN has been accused of false assets declaration, an allegation he denied. He also failed to appear before the tribunal twice to answer the charges filed against him.

Although, a high court and an industrial court ordered the tribunal to stay proceedings, it went on with the case, with the last hearing being on Tuesday.

“The issues before the two courts are hereby discountenanced and have no binding effect on the tribunal,” Umar Danladi, judge of the CCT, had ruled.

The tribunal adjourned the matter till February 4 for continuation for hearing.

On Tuesday, Aliyu Umar, counsel to the federal government, had urged the tribunal to give a temporary order asking the CJN to “step aside.”