CJN,Onnoghen defends absence from CCT, faults appearance notice

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has faulted the procedure by which he was summoned by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Lead counsel to the CJN, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), has admitted that Justice Walter Onnoghen, was not properly served with summons as stipulated by law to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Monday.
It was gathered that the Chief Justice was served court summons by his aide.

Umar, therefore, requested the three-man tribunal led by Danladi Umar to direct a fresh service on the CJN.
In light of this, the defence team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the CJN needed not to be present having filed a motion to challenge the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

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Olanipekun said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
However, the prosecuting lawyer said the law only requires the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, and that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.
In the end, the prosecuting counsel conceded that the service of the charges and the summons ought to have been personally served to Onnoghen.

“By what the registrar has said, although the defendant was the one who directed his personal assistant to accept service on his behalf and what the law says is that he must be personally served.
“We agree that that the service should be properly done. The processes should be served personally on him.
“If, after the service is done, and the defendant is not present, we can then argue whether or not he needs to be present on the grounds that he has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.”

The case has been adjourned to January 22, 2019.

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