The lead counsel of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo has alleged that the Court of Appeal has been ordered to stay away from giving judgement in the appeals filed by Onnoghen.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also expressed concern that while political and election matters were treated with dispatch, the Court of Appeal had not been able to give judgment in the appeals filed by Onnoghen six weeks after they were heard.
Awomolo stated this in a press statement shared to journalists at the end of Monday’s proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
Awomolo, who noted that most Nigerian public officers and judges were as guilty as the suspended CJN, warned that nobody knew who would be the next after the precedent already laid with Onnoghen’s trial.
He said: “Whereas political matters and election matters were treated with dispatch, and judgment delivered within hours, the appeal of Chief Justice of Nigeria, six weeks after argument was ordered to be kept away in the file.
“There is no association of Nigerian judges to speak a word.
“Let no public officer or judicial officer at any level, throw stones because if not all, most are guilty as Onnoghen.
“Nobody knows who is next, a precedent has been laid.
“The honourable Attorney-General of the Federation seems pleased.”
Continuing, Awomolo said his client’s ongoing trial had exposed the Nigerian judiciary to be a weak institution, just as he expressed worry that the Nigerian Bar Association “has by reason of personal leadership ambition been rendered ineffective, divided and weak”.
He also lamented that the framers of the Nigerian Constitution “omitted to give sufficient attention to the need for the Code of Conduct Tribunal to secure its independence, impartiality and non-interference”.
According to him, if the head of the judiciary will be treated the way Onnoghen was treated, the CCT trial had shown that the judiciary was not independent and the security of tenure of judicial officers is a mere wishful thinking.
“The third lesson is that the case has clearly shown that Nigerian judiciary is very weak, vulnerable and not independent”, he said.
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