By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
There appears to be no respite for the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, as the National Judicial Council (NJC), on Monday disclosed that it had issued a fresh query to the suspended CJN.
The council revealed that a petition was lodged before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Justice Onnoghen over allegations bordering on illicit financial transactions.
In a statement by NJC’s Director of Information, Barr. Soji Oye, the council after an emergency meeting yesterday, to consider earlier petitions against Justice Onnoghen and the Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Mohammad, decided to adjourn till Wednesday.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently suspended Justice Onnoghen from office, following charges of false assets declarations that were filed against the embattled CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Following a national outrage that trailed Onnoghen’s suspension, the petition that gave rise to the CJN’s travails were referred to the NJC for consideration with a view to meting out appropriate sanctions in the event that the petition finds merit.
The NJC had given Justices Onnoghen and Tanko seven days to reply to the earlier queries.
In the press statement Oye stated: “The National Judicial Council reconvened today in an Emergency Meeting to consider the responses of Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and Hon. Mr. Justice I.T. Muhammad, CFR to the three petitions written against them.
“Members resolved to constitute into the Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committee in accordance with Regulation 17 of the National Judicial Council Judicial Discipline Regulations, 2017 and report to Council on the 13th of February 2019.
“The Council will reconvene on Wednesday, 13th February, 2019.
“Council also received a new petition written by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Hon. Mr. Justice W.S.N. Onnoghen, GCON and forwarded it to him for his response within seven (7) working days.
“Council reaffirmed its confidence in Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON and continues under his Interim Chairmanship”.