Nigeria: Onnoghen Closes Defence, Gets 3 Days to File Final Address

Walter Onnoghen.

The suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, has closed his defence before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged false and non-declaration of assets after calling only one witness.

Onnoghen had on Monday called his driver, Lawal Olanrewaju Busari, as his first witness. He had subsequently asked the tribunal to issue a subpoena to invite one Mrs. Theresa Nwafor, a director with the Code of Conduct Bureau in Edo state, to appear as his second witness.

However, at the resumed hearing yesterday, his lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), informed the tribunal of the defence decision to close their case.

"After a very deep review and consideration of evidence already before the tribunal, the defence has come to a conclusion to close our case. Pursuant to Paragraph 14 of the Practice Direction of this Tribunal, we are applying to file our final written addresses," he said, requesting for 14 days.

However, prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), said because the time for the filing of written addresses was not provided for in the practice direction of the tribunal, it has been left at the discretion of the tribunal.

Ruling on the application, the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, held that the tribunal, having regards to the purpose for Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), gives three working days to the defence to file their written address.

He added that the prosecution will also have three working days to file their reply and adjourned the matter to April 15 for the adoption of final written addresses.

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