The apex court in the country, The Supreme Court has disclosed that the exit of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, has caued widespread division among judges in the sacred bench and the management of the hallowed court.
Onnoghen resigned on Thursday just a day after the National Judicial Council officially submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari after concluding investigation into the the allegations of gross misconduct leveled against the former number one man in the nation’s judiciary arm of government.
But the hallowed Supreme Court. In a statement by Dr. Festus Akande, Director, Press and Information, disclosed that the manner the number one judge in the country exited the bench had not led to any division within its judges and management ranks. The ress release issued titled ‘Onnoghen’s Exit Splits Supreme Court,’ in reported by a popular newspaper on Sunday.
The press release reads partly “Our attention has been drawn to a publication with the title, “Onnoghen’s Exit Splits Supreme Court,” on page four of Sunday Tribune of April 7, 2019.
“It is necessary to state categorically clear that the publication is false and misleading in its entirety.
“There is no iota of truth in the story, as every word in it only exists in the realm of rumour and mischief.
“The Supreme Court of Nigeria is one big, indivisible judicial family that is not in any way governed by religious, tribal or parochial influence or sentiments.”
Bauchi State-born Justice Tanko Muhammad has been in the saddle as the Acting CJN since January 23, 2019 when Buhari, on the basis of an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, suspended Justice Onnoghen, who hails from Cross River State.
The number one Court in the country stated in a press statement that apointment of judges were never based on any tribal or religion sentiments stating that the Justices and management of the hallowed bench stand united in this trying times.
It reads further “For the umpteenth time, let it be known to all and sundry that no judicial officer is appointed on account of religious or tribal affiliation, as such, the discharge of their Judicial obligations cannot be dictated by such extraneous considerations.
“As it has always been, the Supreme Court justices and the entire management are united, cohesive and indivisible in the quest to move the Court to an enviable height.
“Members of the public are always enjoined to crosscheck their facts from the Court, using the Freedom of Information window, to avoid rushing to the media to exhibit their ignorance.”
The statement maintained that the “judicial oath taken by all the justices of the Court has already initiated a potent sacred bond to regulate and conscientise the conducts of their Lordships in the discharge of their Judicial functions”.
Below is a part of the allegation against the former Chief Justice of Nigeria.
PETITION ON SUSPECTED FINANCIAL CRIMES AND BREACHES OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT BUREAU REQUIREMENTS AGAINST HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE W. S. NKANU ONNOGHEN, GCON, THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
We write to bring to your attention serious concerns bothering on flagrant violations of the law and the Constitution of Nigeria by the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Specifically, we are distressed that facts on the ground indicate the leader of our country’s judicial branch is embroiled in suspected financial crimes and breaches of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
The particulars of our findings indicate that:
His Lordship Justice Walter Onnoghen is the owner of sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself, up to as recently as 10th August 2016 which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.
To give specific examples, here are some instances of cash deposits by Justice Onnoghen:
Justice Onnoghen made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on 8th March 2011 into Standard Chartered Bank Account 1062650;
On 7th June 2011, two separate cash deposits of $5000 each were made by Justice Walter Onnoghen, followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each;
On 27th June 2011, Justice Onnoghen made another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each and made four more cash deposits of $10,000 each on the following day, 28th June 2011;
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