It’s a shame, but I think the principle has been established and that is nobody is above the law. I also think we can admit that there is serious problem with our judiciary and there is need for cleaning.
Itse Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption, says Walter Onnoghen, the convicted former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) should have resigned earlier, instead of fighting dirty.
In interview with New Telegraph, Sagay said Onnoghen should not have allowed some senior advocates and judges to deceive him into thinking he could win the trial.
Onnoghen was convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on the charges of fraudulent asset declaration.
In his reaction to Onnoghen's conviction, Sagay said: “These Senior Advocates and some of these judges wanted to create a privileged class who has powers to judge others and send them to prison, but they commit crimes and find immunity for it. I find that absolutely unacceptable.
”We can see from what has happened the quality of some of these senior lawyers. Once adversity started, once it was clear that the Chief Justice was going to lose the case, did you see them with him again? They stopped going to the court with him; they are all opportunists. They are people who want to be seen in the public, so that they can be recognized and remembered when money is being shared and so on.
“It’s a shame, but I think the principle has been established and that is nobody is above the law. I also think we can admit that there is serious problem with our judiciary and there is need for cleaning. If that level is not clean, then the rest of the country will remain unclean.
“What has happened is that somebody in a high position has not met the standard of that position. When these charges were first brought against the CJN, what happened was scandalous.
“His friends and acolytes started jumping from one court to another, seeking unnecessary injunctions; they even went to the National Industrial Court. They even went to the Appeal Court when there is nothing to appeal. So, they didn’t handle the matter with dignity and respect that his office demands.
“At the time he should have resigned honourably, he decided to fight dirty with all these Senior Advocates pushing him on and misleading him. But now they have all deserted him.”