A group of lawyers held a protest in Abuja on Monday to express dissatisfaction with the charges filed against Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Onnoghen is standing trial over charges related to alleged fraudulent declaration of assets. He was scheduled for arraignment on Monday, but wasn’t in court.
The protest held outside the premises of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
According to the lawyers, “due process” is required before Onnoghen can be arraigned.
They also noted that the charge against Onnoghen is “dead on arrival in view of the case of Nganjiwa v FRN (2017) LPELR 43391 wherein the Court of Appeal held that a judicial officer who has not been investigated by the National Judicial Council and sanctioned for misconduct cannot be arraigned in any criminal court in Nigeria”.
The lawyers accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “planning to rig the election in his favour by removing those perceived to be stumbling block”.
Earlier, another group under the auspices of Advocate for Peoples' Rights & Justice ( APRJ) also protested at the court, warning the government not to truncate the democratic process in the country.
The Coordinator of the group, Barr Victor Giwa, maintained that the petition should be sent to the National Judicial Commission (NJC), the body who is constitutionally empowered to discipline and sanction any judicial officer.
He noted that if NJC finds him guilty then a disciplinary action would be taken before a criminal charge can be instituted against him.
He said that the government should do the right thing and stop violating the laws of land.
While addresing journalists to the security operatives moved in and asked him to leave the court premises.