Walter Onnoghen, the sacked Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), caused quite a stir at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Thursday with a remark just before the commencement of the judgement that caught everyone’s attention.
The tribunal found him guilty of false declaration of assets in breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for public officials.
Delivering its judgement, the three-man panel chaired by Danladi Umar said the prosecution proved Onnoghen's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Therefore, it convicted him and removed him from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC). It also said Onnoghen is to forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally, and barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.
Moments before then, though, Onnoghen, sat in the front row, smiled as numerous photojournalists beamed their cameras on him. However, when he noticed a particular journalist was bending down while taking his shots, Onnoghen jokingly asked him: “I hope you are not taking my pants.”
It was a remark that sent many in the court into fits of laughter before a policeman came to drive the journalists away.