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Onnoghen: NJC, NBA hold crucial meetings

The National Judicial Council and the Nigerian Bar Association have announced emergency meetings. The meetings are expected to focus on the controversial suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen

Mr Onnoghen was suspended on Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari following an exparte order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Mr Onnoghen is facing trial at the tribunal, after he was charged for the alleged offence.

The CJN, who has challenged the validity of his trial before the CCT, has not been present on two occasions when the case was called at the tribunal.

The trial, scheduled to continue on January 28, has been suspended, following an Appeal Court directive that the proceedings at the tribunal should wait until the appellate court determines Mr Onnoghen’s application challenging his trial on January 30.

But days after the last hearing of the matter at the CCT on January 22, Mr Buhari announced another directive, suspending Mr Onnoghen. Mr Buhari said the directive to suspend Mr Onnoghen was made by the tribunal on January 23.

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On Sunday, the NBA and the NJC said they would convene on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

While the information regarding the NJC’s meeting was confirmed by multiple sources who did not want to be named, the meeting of the NBA was announced in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Jonathan Taidi.

Sources within the NJC said the council’s meeting, scheduled to hold on Tuesday, will focus mainly on the current controversy trailing Mr Onnoghen’s suspension.

The sources, however, could not confirm whether the meeting would be chaired by Mr Onnoghen or the acting CJN, Ibrahim Mohammed.

According to the NBA, it’s National Executive Council meeting, billed to hold on Monday is expected to be attended by the following members.

1. National Officers

2. Past Presidents

3. Past General Secretaries

4. Branch Chairmen

5. Branch Secretaries

6. Branch NEC Representatives

7. Chairmen and Secretaries of Sections.

The NBA said its meeting is expected to discuss what it described as the: “Purported Suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Mr Justice Walter S C Onnoghen and any Other Business.”

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