Absence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, for his scheduled arraignment before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on charges of non-assets’ declaration, has triggered legal arguments in the Monday’s proceedings scheduled to be for his arraignment.
Upon an inquiry by the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, about why the CJN was absent from court, the team of defence lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said his client needed not to be present on the grounds that he had filed a motion challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
Olanipekun said he and other defence lawyers only appeared in court in protest against the jurisdiction of the court.
He also said from the account given by the court official earlier in the proceedings, the CJN was not served with the charges and summons personally but through his aide.
Olanipekun insisted that the law required that the defendant was personally served.
But the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar (SAN), said the law only required the defendant to be aware of the pending charges, and that it was the CJN’s choice to ask his aide to receive the charges and summons on his behalf.
The court official had earlier confirmed that the CJN was served through his personal assistant.
He said, “He was served through his personal assistant.
“We went to his house and the defendant directed his personal assistant to collect the charge and summons on his behalf.
“So the defendant has been served.”