In what would be interpreted by critics as an attempt to beat the judiciary into favourable shape ahead of the fallouts of the 2019 general elections, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen (CJN) to immediately vacate his office as Head of the Nation’s judiciary over alleged sundry asset declaration issues.
In what would been seen as a bid to get Justice Onnoghen out of office, and replaced by a government-friendly judge, the Federal Government will on Monday arraign the CJN before the Justice Danladi Yakubu led- Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on charges of failure to declare his assets as required by law and for operating Bank Domiciliary Foreign Currency Accounts.
The charge, according to PRNigeria, has already being filed and served on Mr. Onnoghen last Friday at his official residence in Abuja, preparatory for his appearance at the tribunal.
The Federal Government, accuses him, among other things, of refusal to declare his assets in breach of the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
He is further accused of maintaining Domiciliary foreign currencies account which comprised Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account, said to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.
Justice Nnoghen would be the first CJN in Nigeria to be dragged through the nation’s justice system.
It is also understood that apart from docking Onnoghen on Monday, PRNigeria reported that motion on notice will be filed against him, praying the tribunal to order him to vacate office and recuse himself office so as to prevent alleged interference in his arraignment and trial.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, names withheld, has been engaged by Federal Government to lead justice Onnoghen’s prosecution.
Eminent lawyers have volunteered to put their services at the disposal of Justice Onnoghen in the bid to rescue him from the claws of the government, the report said.
Recall that Onnoghen’s Supreme Court had upheld the acquittal of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki on similar charges brought against him by the Federal Government in 2015 shortly after he surprisingly emerged the leader of the Legislature.