150 SANs volunteer to defend Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, at CCT trial
London, Jan. 13, 2019 (AltAfrica)-At least 150 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, have offered their service free of charge to defend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen before Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT on Monday.
The CJN will be arraigned over alleged failure to declare his assets as required by law and for operating Bank Domiciliary Foreign Currency Accounts.
Constitutional lawyer, Sebastine Hon, SAN told Daily Trust on Saturday that said the number of eminent lawyers that have volunteered to defend the CJN might even be more than 150.
Mr Hon described the six-count criminal charge against the CJN as a deliberate attempt to gag the judiciary.
In a statement on Saturday, Mr Hon also urged the CJN not to heed to what he termed as an “unholy call” for him to step aside.
“While I know that the Chief Justice of Nigeria does not enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution, I see this move by the Federal Government as dangerously political and tendentious.
“Suddenly, we woke to see a petition leaked to the informal or social media, allegedly received by the Code of Conduct on 9th January, 2019.
“Suddenly, we are told charges have been filed against the CJN. Suddenly the Presidency is reportedly asking him to step aside! Was he interrogated or interviewed and his own reactions obtained?”
Meanwhile, Following the allegations of false asset declaration preferred against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has described his non-declaration of the domiciliary accounts as a mistake.
In a statement written to the CCB investigators on Friday (January 11), seen by Daily Trust Justice Onnoghen also explained that the undeclared foreign currencies found in his Standard Chartered Bank were sourced from his estacodes and medical allowances, including funds from his days in private practice between 1979 and 1989.
He further explained that the withdrawals from his Pound Sterling and Euro accounts were for the school fees and upkeep allowances of his children abroad.
“My Asset Declaration Form No SC N 00014 and SCN 00005 were declared on the same day 14/12/2016 because I forgot to make a declaration of my assets after the expiration of my 2005 declaration in 2009,” the CJN stated.
“Following my appointment as Acting CJN in November 2016, the need to declare my asset anew made me to realise the mistake.”
The CJN further explained that he did not include the funds in his domiciliary accounts because he believed the accounts were not opened during the period covered by the declaration.