A Federal High Court in Abuja has extended the date for the restraining order it placed on the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The court which previously fixed January 17, on Thursday ruled that all parties in the suit should maintain the status quo till January 31, 2019, when it will hear the matter on the exparte motions brought before it.
Two separate suits were filed praying the court to stop the trial of Justice Onnoghen, over alleged false assets declaration.
The presiding judge, Justice Evelyn Maha adjourned the two suits on Thursday over service defects.
The Federal Government levelled a six-count charge of false assets declaration against the CJN through the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
But Incorporated Trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, and the Incorporated Trustees of International Association of Students had gone to the court to challenge the planned arraignment of the CJN.
The two plaintiffs had through separate applications on January 14 obtained interim orders directing the parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the substantive suits, which was fixed for Thursday for hearing.
The respondents are the CCT chairman, Justice Danladi Umar; the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Inspector General of Police, the National Judicial Council chaired by Onnoghen and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
When Incorporated Trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative came up in court, the Plaintiff’s lawyer, R.A. Lawal Rabana SAN, told the court that the business of the day was to move the motion on notice.
According to him, the respondents to the suit, except the Senate President, had been served with the processes and the enrolled order of the court.
He therefore asked the court for a short adjournment to ensure that the Senate President was served in the interest of justice.
Among other respondents in the matter, it was only the National Judicial Council (NJC) that attended the hearing on Thursday.
Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN), who announced the appearance for the NJC confirmed that he had been served the court process and said he had no objection to the request for a short adjournment.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Maha held that the processes served on the respondents were not accompanied with certificate itemising each of the processes served on each of the respondents.
Maha ordered the plaintiff to regularise the service and ensure that the Senate president was served. She adjourned the matter till January 28 for hearing.
Also, the suit filed by Incorporated Trustees of the International Association of Students, similarly was adjourned to the same date as it was observed by the judge to have same service defects.