Report has it that Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the led counsel of suspended Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, visited the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, as part of the alleged moves to stop the arraignment of Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The Court of Appeal had few days ago rejected the CJN request to stop the CCT to trial him. Consequently, the CCT fixed Monday to continue his trail for alleged false declaration of asset.
The embattled CJN who had ignored the CCT hearing twice had already been served with a summoun by the CCT to appear before it on February 4. By law, he must appear before it.
“Take notice that the above mentioned case (Federal Republic of Nigeria and Justice Onnoghen) has been listed for hearing at the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting at CCT Head office/court complex situated at Plot 89 Sector Centre B Cadastral Zone B 16, Solomon Lae Way, beside FCT High Court, Jabi, Abuja on February 4, 2018,” the notice demanding his appearance before the CCT read in part.
Onnoghen’s team of lawyers led by Olanipekun also reportedly visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo after meeting with Kyari.
Olanipekun who also led the lawyers that defended Buhari when he faced allegations of forgery of certificate is a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
According to Punch, one of the lawyers revealed that the meetings with Mr. President’s close associates were to stop the arraignment of the CJN on Monday.
“We met with Abba Kyari around 10pm on Thursday because we knew he would guarantee our access to the President.
“Our aim is to protect the exalted office of the CJN. The CJN must not sit in the dock on Monday, because doing such will demystify that office. The National Judicial Council is already attending to the case and a decision will be taken next week.
“All we are asking is that the case on Monday be delayed until after the NJC has made recommendations and in the event that he is recommended for dismissal, let him resign honourably and let the charges against him be withdrawn.”
“Kyari said he would relay our message to the President. However, he did not hesitate to inform us that the President did not want Onnoghen back as the head of the nation’s judiciary,” the undisclosed lawyer said.
The lawyer, when asked if the visit to Kyari would not obstruct justice, he said; “The CCT is under the Presidency. The CCT chairman is also facing charges of corruption by the EFCC. The way the CCT chairman has been behaving shows that Onnoghen’s coffin has already been nailed.”