OrderPaperToday – The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has ordered the arrest of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The warrant which was issued by CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest Justice Onnoghen and bring him to the tribunal unfailingly on Friday.
He gave the order on Wednesday and directed the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) to join in arresting the suspended CJN.
The chairman Tribunal refused to allow the other two members of the Tribunal to agree or disagree with his ruling.
Justice Onnoghen had failed to show up at the CCT since it commenced his trial and in the ruling today, Justice Umar criticised the former’s refusal to attend the trial.
He told the tribunal that the “defendant is not at the tribunal and has consistently refused to show up and is, therefore, relying on the practice direction of the tribunal to apply for an arrest warrant against justice Onnoghen to compel him to show up for trial”.
Also adding that contrary to the application of the lead defence counsel no motion is ripe for hearing in view of the absence of the defendant.
Justice Onnoghen is facing six charges bordering on failure to declare his assets and operating a domiciliary account, among other charges.
The lead defence counsel Mr Adeboyega Awomolo in his reply urged the tribunal to refuse the application for a warrant of arrest for some reasons owing to adjournments of trial dates from January 22 to 28 for arguments of all the applications.
But the tribunal chairman, however, objected and reminded that he had given an order that the defendant must be at the tribunal.
He insisted that the defendant ought to be in court noting that section 396 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act requires that a defendant must be in court at all times during the trial and the tribunal must use all the arsenal available to him to compel the defendant to be in court.
Reporting by Okafor Amarachi