The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday struck
out four appeals filed by ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter
Onnoghen, in relation to his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The three-man bench led by Justice Stephen Adah, in the four
unanimous judgments, held that three of the appeals had become academic
since the trial had been concluded by the CCT.

One of the appeals was ruled to be incompetent.

But delivering judgment on the appeal challenging the January 23, 2019 ex parte
order made by the CCT for the suspension of the ex-CJN, Justice Adah,
who read the lead judgment, held that the order was issued in breach of
the appellant’s right to fair hearing.

President Buhari had acted on the order to suspend Onnoghen and had
sworn in Justice Tanko Muhammad as the acting CJN on January 26.

Justice Adah noted that the order was not only made when the
defendant had yet to be arraigned before the CCT, but it was also
obtained in a manner “shrouded in secrecy and clandestine manoeuvre.”

He noted that while all the parties to the case during the January
22, 2019 proceedings of the trial agreed with the tribunal to have the
case adjourned till January 25 for the hearing of pending applications,
the prosecution went behind the defendant to obtain the ex parte order on January 23.

Justice Olabisi Ige, who read the lead judgment in another appeal,
also held that the CCT ought to have been bound by the various court
orders from the National Industrial Court and the Federal High Court
stopping the trial.

The judge held that the tribunal ought to have “tarried a while” and
file an appeal to the Court of Appeal to have the orders set aside,
instead of ignoring the orders.

However, all the justices, including Justice Tinuade
Akomolafe-Wilson, who delivered the lead judgment in another appeal,
held that there was nothing wrong in the CCT’s decision to hear the
appellant’s notice of preliminary objection along with the prosecution’s
interlocutory motion on notice.

They also ruled that the CCT rightly applied the provisions of
Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act by refusing
the defendant’s application for stay of proceedings.

Justice Adah, in another judgment, dismissed Onnoghen’s appeal challenging the warrant of arrest issued against him by the CCT.

The appeal was struck out on the basis that the appellant failed to present a copy of the arrest before the court.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has yet to fix a date for the hearing of Onnoghen’s appeal challenging his conviction by the CCT.

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