Nigeria: Buhari suspends Chief Justice over graft charges

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the country’s Chief Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.

Onnoghen suspension is coming weeks before the country’s crucial presidential election next month.

President Buhari on Friday swore in an acting chief justice in the person of Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed.

The Nigerian leader during the swearing-in event cited the ongoing hearing at the Code of Conduct Tribunal relating to Onnoghen as the reason.

Justice Walter Onnoghe has been accused of failing to declare his assets before taking office in 2017.

Nigeria’s laws require that senior civil servants and government officials declare their assets prior to taking office. They are also required to do so after leaving office.

This is part of efforts at dealing with corruption in a country struggling to deal with such a canker.

Prosecutors brought the charges against Justice Walter Onnoghen before three-member Code of Conduct Tribunal this moth.

The Tribunal was set up for such high profile cases against senior civil servants and government officials accused of misconduct.

The sacked chief justice however failed to attend any of the hearings. He has also challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal hearing the case.

But President Buhari said “Although the allegations in the petition are grievous enough in themselves, the security agencies have since then traced other suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the CJN’s personal accounts, all undeclared or improperly declared as required by law”.

“I hereby suspend the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen, GCON as the Chief Justice of Nigeria pending final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal”, Buhari said in a statement.

Justice Onnoghen was sworn in as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria on November 10, 2016.




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