- The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has issued a bench warrant ordering the arrest and subsequent arraignment of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
- CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, issued the warrant to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest Justice Onnoghen and bring him to the Tribunal unfailingly on Friday.
Following Onnoghen's second absence on Wednesday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the order to arrest and arraign Onnoghen was made on Wednesday and instructions were given to the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) to join in arresting the suspended CJN and compel him to be at the Tribunal.
The tribunal chairman did not, however, 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, in the ruling today, Justice Umar criticized his 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”.
He also said that contrary to the application of the lead defense counsel no motion is ripe for hearing in view of the absence of the defendant.
The lead defense 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.
Justice Onnoghen is facing six charges bordering on failure to declare his assets and operating a domiciliary account, among other charges.