- Some government officials are reportedly pushing for the continuation of Walter Onnoghen's CCT trial
- This is in spite of the fact that the suspended chief justice of Nigeria has submitted his resignation
- The prosecutors said they have not received any notice to stop Onnoghen's trial
The resignation of the suspended chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, will reportedly no stop his non-declaration of assets trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The Nation reports that highly-placed sources in the presidency said no deal has been reached between the president and Onnoghen yet over his resignation despite speculation that he would receive a soft landing.
Another top source in the CCT said the sitting scheduled for April 15 will go on unless the prosecutors give a notice of discontinuance.
It was reported that some forces within the government are pushing for the case to go on while some members of the bench and the bar are in support of the NJC decision that Onnoghen be retired.
A top source in CCT said the tribunal will go ahead with its sitting on April 15 unless there is a notice of discontinuance of the trial from the prosecutors.
A top source who spoke in confidence said: “The fate of Onnoghen is still dicey. It is unclear whether or not the Presidency will see through the conclusion of his trial by the CCT.
“There are also some alleged infractions which were investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We do not know if he will face trial or not on these.
“While some in government and rights groups have been calling for his trial, some members of the bench and the bar are trying to lobby the Presidency to adopt the soft-landing window provided by the NJC.
“President Buhari is awaiting the legal opinion he commissioned on NJC’s report and he might unfold his position when he returns from Jordan.”
Another highly-placed source said of Onnoghen:
“Isn’t his retirement notice or resignation an afterthought?
“Does retirement amount to acquittal of any offence?
“If he wanted retirement, why did he allow this case to the extent of attracting political propaganda against the government?
“Why would NJC recommend retirement with full benefits without deterrence for Onnoghen?
“Shouldn’t the outgoing CJN forfeit suspicious funds in his accounts, especially monies outside his salaries, investment and official allowances?
“Will it not amount to double standards to slap Onnoghen on the wrist while other Nigerians go to jail for lesser offences?
“Will a political pardon for Onnoghen put an end to the Cold War between the Executive and the Judiciary?
“Won’t any pardon for the outgoing CJN mess up the anti-corruption agenda of Buhari?
“There are many salient points surrounding this Onnoghegate. The outgoing CJN said he decided to retire or resign to save the Judiciary.
“By the time the legal advice is out and digested by the President, we will know where we are going.
“Even in the Presidency, we know that Onnoghen’s retirement or resignation has made the case at hand to be interwoven.”
A source in the prosecuting team said: “We have not got any directive from the government that we should either stay action or discontinue the trial of Onnoghen.
“We are holding a session to wrap up our final address and meet the timeline set by the CCT.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will decide the fate of Walter Onnoghen who reportedly tendered his resignation on Friday, April 5, following his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), the presidency has said.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that the presidency said decision would be taken on Onnoghen when Buhari returns from his official trip to Jordan.
The report quoted Garba Shehu, a media aide to the president as saying: “What I will say to you is that on the Onnoghen matter, there is an important decision for the president to take upon his return. These things are in motion, and only the president can decide one way or the other.”
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