Onnoghen: Between reality and emotion

The memory of the DSS invasion of some federal judges’ home has now been brought back. The judges were accused of stashing foreign currencies in their homes, contravening the law they swore to protect. Reactions and comments from different perspectives and orientations trailed the unexpected DSS operation. The reactions and opinions varied. Some condemned in clear and unequivocal terms the activity of the operatives on the ground that such an operation was illegal and it was an affront on the judiciary, as an independent arm of government.

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They held that the third arm of government should be free and its affairs should be run exclusively by the National Judicial Council. Admittedly, the judiciary should be free to discharge its constitutional duties but that independence isn’t immunity against prosecution or an avenue to engage in corrupt practices. Those who agreed that every sector should be sanitised lauded the DSS, overlooking the approach used to make the judges’ illegality public. Yet some remained indifferent thinking it was one of the government’s stunts done to show that it is really fighting corruption.

Justice Onnoghen will face a trial. The Code of Conduct Bureau has brought a six-count charge against him in a case that will upset the country, including the NJC. According to court papers, Onnoghen was accused of non and fraudulent declaration of assets. The Federal Government also alleged that he failed to declare a series of bank accounts, denominated in local and foreign currencies, linked to him at a bank in Abuja.

As expected, there have been reactions from around the country, on social media, among members of the bar and political parties. To the opposition party, the PDP, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) wants to weaken the judiciary almost a month to the general elections and it has called on international community to be on alert. Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen is the first southerner to occupy the office after thirty years. Heightening the tension is the fact that the next in rank is from north.

So, the case is quite complex with emotions beclouding the sense of judgment among Nigerians. South-south governors have summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the ordeal of one of their sons, they will do all they can to influence the trial. But in whose interest is this? The reality is being avoided and this is unhealthy for the nation.

Some facts need be stated in this matter. There is no provision in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that protects any serving or retired judge from prosecution. This means that they do not enjoy any immunity whatsoever and they can be probed and prosecuted for any crime. This is an indisputable fact and it should be one of the factors to consider rather than appealing to emotions.

There are accusations against him, but the burden of proof is on the prosecution. That he is being haunted will be proven at the tribunal. The embattled Chief Justice is neither a sacred cow nor ignorant of the provisions of the constitution and he should, therefore be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Timothy Faboade,

 

 Ondo State.

7 Comments
  1. Orumgbe Moni Tony says

    Timothy, thank you for this write up. “There are accusations against him, but the burden of proof is on the prosecution. That he is being haunted will be proven at the tribunal. The embattled Chief Justice is neither a sacred cow nor ignorant of the provisions of the constitution and he should, therefore be made to face the full wrath of the law”.

    I am amazed at the level of naivety and parochialism of most people. At this point it is only an accusation yearning for a proof! To do otherwise, is to give the impression that our laws are meant for only the weak and defenseless! The CJN understands that the integrity of our courts must be protected. Above all, the raw questions to be answered are, did he do it or did he not do it? We are waiting for answers!

  2. Mariam Nasiru says

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  3. Adeniyi Odubanjo says

    Orumgbe Moni Tony your statement rekindles my hope and I believe that gradually if we remain focused, Nigeria will prosper. How we see and interpret everything through the lense of politics, ethnicity and religion in Nigeria is annoying. Unfortunately, that’s the weapons our politicians use. If the same allegations have been made against a poor and/ or non politically exposed citizen from the South South, none of these governors and their political thugs will raise an eyebrow. Now that the net is about to catch a big fish, they want to make political gains.

  4. Yusuf Abubakar says

    His not above the law let him go and clear him self.

  5. Michael Biodun Bowale says

    STOP STRUGGLING TOO MUCH FOR THIS WORLD. ONLY GOD HAS POWER TO CROWN ANYONE , EVEN WITH LESS EFFORT.

    Awolowo was investigated for Corruption under Coker Inquiry, later tried for Treason in a regular court, he never said it was becase he was a Christian or Yoruba. He defended himself, and when his lawyer was denied entry visa to Nigeria, and his first son, an acclaimed international lawyer, was coming to the court to defend him, he died in a road accident on his way to the Court..Abraham Adesanya broke the news to Awo inside the Court, he expected Awo to start weeping but he did not.

    Awo called the attention of the Judge to the development and asked for permission to defend himself and other Accused.

    “Segun is dead already, we that are alive must defend ourselves so that we dont die too. This is treason, we must defend ourselves first before we mourn my beloved son”

    LEADERS are made!

    AWO was a true leader that served his people altruistically unlike the egocentric “LEADERS here in Nigeria…… You know them now.

    WHAT ATIKU AND SARAKI DON’T KNOW.

    BALEWA never struggled to be Prime Minister. BELLO was qualified but gave it to BALEWA……
    SHAGARI never wanted to be President…….but he ruled!

    ABIOLA wanted it since 1983……he never got there even in 1993….We loved him but he did not get it…..

    OBJ never lobbied for or desperate to be President. Falae wanted to since 1992 but he never got it…..OBJ did.

    ODILI struggled and spent billions to get it….he never got it…..Yar’adua was not even physically strong enough yet he got it without spending his personal cash. ODILI got nothing!

    JONATHAN has neither the cash nor the finesse to be President but he got it. He defeated desperate IBB and ATIKU in the primaries and BUHARI in the general!

    BUHARI resigned to fate. He declared that he will not contest again. That is when GOD handpicked him and made him the President after HE had earlier watched him exhausting his personal energy and killing his desperation!

    The time when JONATHAN had no strength, he defeated mighty BUHARI….But when he had all the strength and money…he lost to a BUHARI who had given up!
    Osinbajo was eating amala in his house when he was made the Vice President and eventually an acting president.
    Leave all struggles for God to do them for you. Allow all the stacked money to be used for the benefit of the people. When it is your time God will surely spend your money as he has done to Balewa, Shagari, Obasanjo,Yaadua, Jonathan and Buhari/Osinbajo.

    *This is for our reflection, and to have it at the back of your mind that nothing is worth dying for*

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  6. Sola O. Sola says

    dis has nothing to do with tribal or religious sentiment- its absolutely political, using d instrumentality of d law. buhari was against onnoghen from d start, we all kno. so he has bn in d ambush since then, and onnoghen sud av prepared well for a strike of d python. plz onnoghen, go and defend urself with all available constitutional provisions at ur disposal, don’t set a bad precedence

  7. Ameen Odike says

    Who is really crying for the Chief Justice of Nigeria?
    The CJN forgot to declare over $700,000 dollars estimated in his bank account.
    Let take this for forgetfulness.
    But how on this earth, could the CJN forget to declare 55 houses. Haba Nigeria!!
    Nigeria must be FREE. VIVA NIGERIA.???

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