An explanation to why the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), sitting in Abuja, ordered key security agencies in Nigeria to arrest the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has emerged.
Ordering Onnoghen’s arrest, the CCT asked the Police and the DSS to produce him for trial on Friday February 15th.
The Danladi Umar-led panel tribunal specifically directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the Director General of the Department of State Service, (DSS), to execute the arrest warrant to ensure that Justice Onnoghen is brought before the panel on the adjourned date.
The order followed an application the Federal Government made for a bench warrant to be issued against the suspended CJN who has refused to come before the tribunal to answer to allegations of non-disclosure of his assets after he assumed office in March 2017.
At the resumed hearing in the case against Onnoghen Wednesday, February 13, counsel to the Federal government, Aliyu Umar, relied on section 6 (1) of the CCT Practice Direction and section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, to apply for a bench warrant against the defendant.
“May I draw your attention and the honorable members to the fact that the defendant is not in court today. I hereby humbly apply for a warrant of arrest against the defendant”, Umar stated.
However, counsel to the embattled CJN, Chief Adegboyega Awolowo, SAN, urged the tribunal to refuse the application and proceed with hearing Onnoghen’s motion challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT and legal competence of the charge against him.
After hearing the arguments of both counsels, Justice Danladi issued the bench warrant. Onnoghen must be produced in court by Friday, February 15th.