Danladi Umar, chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), says he ordered the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), in line with the inherent powers and jurisdiction of the tribunal.
Umar also said “it is left to the appellate court to determine whether or not the order was rightly or wrongly granted.”
The CCT chair made the clarifications in response to a petition filed by Grace Wogor, a lawyer, that he acted beyond his legal authority in granting an order for the suspension of the CJN.
The petition was forwarded to him by the federal judicial service commission (FJSC).
“The petitioner had alleged that I granted an ex parte order directing the President to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, who is a defendant in a charge filed against him at the tribunal,” he said.
“It is important to state that I acted within the inherent powers and jurisdiction of the Tribunal and that whether or not the order was rightly or wrongly granted is now a matter to be determined by the Court of Appeal, since the defendant appealed against the ex parte order.”
Umar said the tribunal did not comply with orders by the high court in Abuja and the national industrial court (NIC) to stop Onnoghen’s trial because they are courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
He maintained that the chairman and members of the CCT are not “constitutionally subject to disciplinary proceedings by either the National Judicial Council (NJC) or the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC)”.
The CCT chair said only the court of appeal and the supreme court have supervisory powers over the tribunal.
In a recent statement from the Senate Spokesperson, it was revealed that the Senate has filed for a withrawal of the suit at the Supreme Court challenging the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Yusuph Olaniyonu, the media aide to the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, in a statement on Monday, February 4, said the decision follows the intervention of the NJC on the issue, Premium Times reports.
“The Senate has therefore decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the case has been slated for hearing tomorrow,” the statement read.
“This decision also affirms the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues” In another news report, the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, has given directives that the embattled chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, must appear before him in person before he can proceed with the trial.
Umar gave the directive on Monday, February 4, when he was reacting to the absence of the embattled CJN at the CCT, The Nation reports.
Legit.ng gathers that the counsel to Justice Onnoghen led by Adegboyega Awolowo (SAN) had reportedly traded words with Umar over the failure of the suspended CJN to appear at his ongoing trial at the CCT.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) the administrative making and disciplinary body of the Nigerian judiciary has met this afternoon, 29th January 2019, after it refused to meet on an earlier scheduled meeting this month.
It rose from the meeting with a directive to the Justice Walter Onoghen respond to Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Petition. the NJC also make remarks on Justice Ibrahim Muhammed of the CCT with a similar timeline to respond to allegations against it.
It will be recalled that Justice Walter Onoghen, the embattled Chief justice of the Nigeria (CJN) had earlier been “suspended” by President Buhari on account of a directive of the CCT bodering on allegations of non-disclosure of assets by CJN.