The former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ebonyi State, Dr. Ben Igwenyi, yesterday said that the trial of the chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen, in the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCT, is a calculated attempt by President MUhammadu Buhari to return the country back to dictatorship.
Igwenyi, who is an Associate Professor of Public and Private Law, in Ebonyi State University (EBSU), made this known while addressing journalists in Abakaliki, capital of the state.
He said: “What is happening is a disgrace to Nigeria. Last year, when this type of issue arose, when some judges of high court and court of appeal and supreme court were arrested by DSS, one of the matters went to the Court of Appeal, and the court of appeal ruled that no judicial officer can be charged to court straight except he has been subjected to investigation by the National Judicial Council, which is the body provided for in the constitution for discipline of judicial officers.
“It was decided last year by the court of appeal, which is the current position of the law. If the CJN has breached the Code of Conduct Bureau of public officers, the petition should have gone to the National Judicial Council, NJC, to investigate him, in which case he will disqualify himself as the chairman of the council, and then the deputy chairman will takeover and look into his case.
“It is when the NJC has looked into his matter and discover that this man should be punished they will now go to the Code of Conduct Bureau which will further investigate before charging him to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
“So, in the eyes of the law, why they are doing against Onnoghe is non-existent. There is no charge against him because the procedure has failed from the word go. As I am speaking to you now, the Federal High Court has already given an injunction restraining the CCT from going into the matter on grounds of jurisdiction, pending the hearing of suit from the federal high Court, Abuja by on Justice Maha, and I believe he is a northerner.
“You know when somebody is desperate, he wants to remove this man and put probably an Hausa man as the CJN who will do their bidding after rigging the election, they will tell you to go to tribunal. Because in the eyes of Buhari, he wants to retaliate what happened to him in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
“He believed he won the elections and was asked to go to the court. So, he wants another person to do the same whether the person defeats him or not. And that is what they have done in Osun, Ekiti and even Edo states. They will rig the election and say go to court. And when they manage to Court, they will start to harass the judges.
“It is a shame by Buhari who said he was coming to fight corruption, is the architect; he is the chairman of corruption in Nigeria because this is what we call political corruption. He is trying to use unorthodox way to get benefit politically.
“If they ease out this man now, he will just look around and call one of the justices of the Supreme Court, particularly the senior ones and appoint. When the case of tribunal comes to the Supreme Court constitute a favorable panel that will decide in my favor.
“The fact that somebody does not disclose his foreign account. Somebody who has been the chairman of the supreme court for so many years. He goes on holidays abroad. He travels to all countries of the world and you do not want him to have foreign account.
“What they should have been asking is that how much is there, how was it gotten? It is unfortunate that the man who says he is Mr. Integrity wants to pull this country back to what it is known for-dictatorship. Because what they are asking for is for some people in the army to come and say fellow Nigerians. May it not happen again in our life time,” he stated.