- The federal government has reportedly opted to continue its case against Walter Onnoghen
- Sources said there was no deal in place between the suspended chief justice of Nigeria and the government
- Onnoghen has submitted his resignation to the federal government
The federal government has reportedly moved to continue with the trial of the Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The National Judicial Council had reportedly recommended the retirement of the suspended chief justice.
Although, Onnoghen has reportedly penned his retirement, The Nation reports that sources privy to the case said the government opted to continue with the trial so as not to set a bad precedent.
The source said: “The government will not withdraw the case against Onnoghen in CCT in order not to set a bad precedent.
“We want the case to run its lifespan for posterity and to avoid reading of political meanings into it. When this case started, there was much uproar, that it was politically motivated by the presidency. We want the tribunal to decide the case on merit.
“The NJC’s report also did not say that the trial be halted. It only demanded the retirement of Onnoghen. This is why no directive has been given to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which is prosecuting the case, to withdraw the charges against the CJN.”
The source said Onnoghen bungled his chances and thus there was no deal with the government.
He said: “There were moves to prevail on the president not to allow the CJN to be on trial in CCT. The first window came from the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) which sent a delegation to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The NBA team wanted soft-landing for Onnoghen. Some terms were agreed upon, including resignation or voluntary retirement by Onnoghen.
“The NBA team was mandated to prevail on him to quit honourably in view of some overwhelming allegations and investigative reports on him. The CJN, who was initially amenable to reconciliation, later backed out.
“The second mediation was about another proposed confidential session between President Buhari and Onnoghen, which was facilitated by some highly-placed Nigerians. They wanted the President to hear from Onnoghen to pave the way for his quiet retirement from office without subjecting him to trial.
“The CJN consented to the session with the president but he aborted it at the last minute without any justifiable cause.
“Onnoghen had over-relied on the outcome of NJC’s investigation – that it would be in his favour. He had no choice than to throw in the towel when the NJC advised Buhari to retire him. It was at this stage he chose to voluntarily leave office.”
Recall that Onnoghen resigned from office on April 5, barely 24hours after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended that he be compulsorily retired for misconduct and false assets declaration.
Meanwhile, a group has accused Onnoghen of battering Nigeria's judiciary before resigning his position.
The Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative (CGGCI) said Onnoghen's resignation is an insult to Nigerian judiciary.
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Onnoghen's Trial is Politically Motivated - APRJ - on Legit TV