Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Okon Efut, who led the former Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnoghen’s defence team at today’s proceedings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, has reacted to the judgment.
Recall that the CCT, had today banned Onnoghen from holding public office for 10 years.
In his judgment over alleged non-asset declaration against Onnoghen, the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar also removed Onnoghen from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, NJC.
Umar ruled that all Onnoghen’s monies deposited in his Standard Chartered Bank account in Wuse 2, Abuja be confiscated, seized and forfeited.
Reacting, Onnoghen’s lawyer, speaking with journalists on the premises of the CCT after the judgment was passed on his client, said that the conviction of the former CJN would be appealed at the Court of Appeal.
He described the judgment as unconstitutional, adding that it was in breach of the ex-CJN’s right to a fair hearing.
He said, “We know that all is not over in this matter. The wheel of justice grinds slowly. It grinds slowly but surely. But this is not a matter that will end here.
“We shall avail ourselves of all the processes and the hierarchy of the judiciary.
“The judgment was premeditated, saying it had been passed as far back as January 23 when the tribunal ordered Onnoghen’s suspension without hearing him.
“The conviction is unconstitutional. It is a breach of fair hearing.
“Before this day, on January 23, 2019, the same judgment had been passed, removing the Chief Justice of Nigeria without a fair hearing.
“So, it was fait accompli, it was premeditated. Judgment has been passed before today. Today’s judgment is just a formality.
“We hold the view that the tribunal has not only breached the Constitution of Nigeria, but it has also breached the fundamental principles of natural justice, equity and good conscience.
“It has not only been able to pass judgment, but it has also convicted on an offence that was never charged.
“This is an erosion of the fundamental principles of our Constitution and until some questions are answered, for instance, why is it that the due course of justice was not allowed to flow?”