Nigeria: My Security Officers Not Withdrawn - CJN Onnoghen

Photo: VOA
Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is the head of Nigeria's judiciary.
13 January 2019

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has refuted media reports that security officers attached to him were withdrawn ahead of his proposed trial.

Mr Onnoghen's special assistant on media, Awassam Bassey, dismissed the reports in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.

Mr Bassey, who said he was with the CJN till late afternoon on Sunday, said Mr Onnoghen attended a public function on Sunday, "in company of his usual security aides".

"I was with him, through this afternoon. We had attended the special Sunday service for the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. His security officers were there. None of them has been changed, or taken away," Mr Bassey said.

The spokesperson said the social media has been awash with various information regarding his boss, adding that most are fake news.

Mr Onnoghen is billed to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Monday.

He was charged with six counts of false asset declaration by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on January 10.

The charges followed a petition brought against him by a group, the Anti-corruption Research and Data Based Initiative, headed by a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress and former official of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Denis Aghanya.

In a statement, the CCT said it received the request for the trial of Mr Onnoghen on Friday and had slated Monday to commence with the matter.

Various lawyers and the Nigerian Bar Association have condemned the arraignment, describing it as unlawful, politically motivated and "a prosecutorial misadventure".

The main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, has also condemned the trial describing it as a plot by the APC to frustrate the judiciary and rig the forthcoming general elections

But the APC has defended the proposed trial, scheduled to start seven days after Mr Aghanya's petition was sent to the CCB. It denied any attempt to stifle the judiciary or rig the general elections, next month.

But many activists are unconvinced saying the speedy manner the top official was quickly arraigned is suspicious especially as law enforcement agencies have been largely lethargic in addressing criminal allegations levelled against other notable members of the ruling party.

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