Nigeria’s Chief Justice Onnoghen condemns disobedience of court orders

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

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has condemned disregard for court rulings, saying it is an act of impunity that is threatening the independence of the judiciary.

Mr. Onnoghen made this point on Wednesday at the Senate during his screening for confirmation as the substantive CJN, having been so recommended by the National Judicial Council, NJC, and nominated for the position by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

Fielding questions from the lawmakers, Mr. Onnoghen said the challenge of disobedience to court orders “is for the legislature and the executive to handle.”

He said the judiciary would welcome that day that court judgements would be respected and carried out after exhaustion of the right of appeal.

That will mean the independence of the judiciary, he added.

If rulings are not respected, the judge continued, they would just be “mere piece of paper.”

“Anyway, disobedience of court order is an act of impunity,” he said. ‘But excuse me from further comments.”

Mr. Onnoghen said this amid growing criticisms of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for disregard for the rule of law.

The government has ignored repeated rulings to free the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, Ibrahim Zakzaky and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Specialized Anti-Corruption Trial

Mr. Onnoghen said the judiciary had no problem with establishment of special courts to try corruption cases.

‘If the government wants to establish courts, we won’t say no,” he said.

However, he stressed that effective criminal investigation involves three parts: effective and thorough investigation; proper prosecution; and the judge.

On corruption in the judiciary, he said, “the judiciary is part of the society and we all know there’s corruption everywhere.”

Although he asked to be excused from commenting on the trials of judges for corruption as doing so would be prejudicial, he reassured that the bench can boast of “strong-willed, determined judicial officers with unquestionable integrity who have put their best to service.”

“I believe you don’t have to see a judge before you get justice.”

Mr. Onnoghen welcomed improved inter-governmental relationship but warned it should not be at the expense of the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

“Justice does not know anybody; that’s why that lady (effigy of justice) is blindfolded.”

Mr. Onnoghen was later confirmed by the Senate as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Having been confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Onnoghen is now due to be sworn-in by the President, or the Acting President, as the 20th Chief Justice of Nigeria.


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  • Harry

    Long live the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen

    Long live the rule of law and democracy

    Bygone to Tyranny and impunity.

    • Quod pro quo

      @disqus_er1U7gExLS:disqus

      By the way I don’t accept that Nigerians are idiots for the most part. Yes, they trooped
      to the streets few years ago in Lagos under Jonathan and made a show of self-exile
      in Kaduna in protest over 30 Naira increase in the pump price of petrol. That
      was in the year 2012. But four years later the same Nigerians jumped for joy
      when Buhari increased the same pump price by 62% from under 100 Naira per
      litre, tantamount to about 60 Naira increase, double what Nigerians closed down
      the society in protest four years earlier. And that was after Buhari devalued
      even the money in the hands of Nigerians by 67% and made Nigerians poorer by
      the same percentage.

      Does that joy four years later amid total darkness from Buhari’s electric power failure
      since January this year, make Nigerians all idiots for the most part? No! I can’t
      agree with such general conclusion. You may say ordinary Nigerians are morons
      or buffoons, that’s okay, I can concede those two, you may even say Nigerians
      don’t think or can’t think, that’s observable and conceded too. What I can
      never accept is that Nigerians are idiots for the most part. I am bringing my
      objection to the public domain because some supposedly people are saying Acting
      President Yemi Osinbajo is performing better than Muhamadu Buhari, despite that
      Nigeria as a country remains stuck in permanent and perpetual darkness under
      both men – to make the word “better” a hilarious supervenience on logical thinking.

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  • Amir

    From his responses I suspect this man who was vigorously pushed forward by the press has no will to fight corruption in the judiciary.

    • Right Minded

      You can tell ur foolani DSS to sack him and put another foolani herdsman as usual to head the Justice dept. Ode!

  • new republic

    War on corruption is confirm dead now.nobody in Nigeria can convict big fish again,the poor people am sorry for you,

    • Law Office Partnership (L.O.P)

      DEAR SIR,

      Public Letter to Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen

      Allow me to use your medium to congratulate a few enlightened Nigerians left,
      who took up the gauntlet to defeat President Buhari’s Islamist shenanigan on the
      appointment of Justice Walter Omonoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria. I will like to
      emphasise the word “FEW”, because no self-described ‘human rights radical’ is
      part of today’s milestone event in Nigeria’s history which truncated the 30 years’
      irresponsible domination of the post of Chief Justice by a successive raft of
      inarticulate and mediocre, never mind decidedly corrupt Hausa-speaking and
      barely-educated northern Nigerians. The decline of the Nigerian judiciary into
      scorn in fact coincided with those 30 years’ of absolute northern domination.

      • Law Office Partnership (L.O.P)

        …………..(2) Public Letter to Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen

        Now, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen has his work cut out. First of all,
        the new Chief Justice Onnoghen has to personally review all the dubious
        decisions of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since the first northerner, Chief
        Justice Bello, came into office and became the first northern Chief Justice to
        be accused to his face in the open court as a uselessly corrupt man for taking
        and pocketing bribes
        . Few other Supreme Court Justices were similarly accused
        for partnering Chief Justice Bello. That was the moment the Supreme Court lost
        its luster and became a criminal suspect rather than a pillar of justice.

        After reviewing all Supreme Court’s
        decisions for reasoning flaws; starting with decisions delivered under Justice Bello’s
        tenure, the new Supreme Court should decide which corrupt or bad examples must
        be compulsorily set aside as quickly as possible, so as to restore the 1970s fame and
        reputation of the Supreme Court as a thinking institution. After that, next thing is to await
        the appeal from the Hijab case in Lagos state for the purpose of overturning it immediately,
        in the interest of rational order.

        Nowhere in non-Islamic jurisprudence
        is a religious apparel ever declared as a fundamental human right in all schools
        including even the schools of separate faith from that of a showy religious apparel.
        There’s therefore no rational basis to select the clothing of a religion, like Islam,
        and declare the Hijab as human right,
        without any rational basis for denying the
        apparel of Christians the same status. Ditto, the gourds, charms and amulets of
        traditional religionists must be declared with equal force by law as human rights,
        following from the no-brainer verdict of the Court of Appeal. The alternative way
        out is to overturn the Court of Appeal, forthwith, and restore some sanity into
        a Nigerian court system that’s looking increasingly bereft of logical reasoning.

        • Law Office Partnership (L.O.P)

          Nowhere in non-Islamic jurisprudence
          is a religious apparel ever declared as a fundamental human right in all schools
          including even the schools of separate faith from that of a showy religious apparel.
          There’s therefore no rational basis to select the clothing of a religion, like Islam,
          and declare the Hijab as human right, without any rational basis for denying the
          apparel of Christians the same status. Ditto, the gourds, charms and amulets of
          traditional religionists must be declared with equal force by law as human rights,
          following from the no-brainer verdict of the Court of Appeal. The alternative way
          out is to overturn the Court of Appeal, forthwith, and restore some sanity into
          a Nigerian court system that’s looking increasingly bereft of logical reasoning.

          • Eko ti baje ju

            AKIN AMBODE IN LAGOS SHOULD QUICKLY FILE APPEAL ON THIS HIJAB VERDICT

            BEFORE CHRISTIANS RISE UP AND VOTE HIM OUT OF OFFICE IN THE 2019 POLLS.

          • Ebun O.

            @b4batter:disqus

            It is not the duty of a Chief Justice to tender apologia for pervasive corruption. Let him fight
            corruption with summonses and subpoenas and let those two court papers be disobeyed
            and let’s see if the society will not rise physically against the disobedient person. What’s
            happening instead is that Judges are totally compromised and too afraid and ignorant to
            uphold the laws and the Constitution of Nigeria. That’s why Judges so far don’t show
            care on concern that the treasury is being raided in billions. They rather discharge
            the accused persons on no-case submission without hearing the case of the one
            accused of stealing the treasury. Is that how thinking Judges should adjudicate?
            How will a no case to answer verdict replenish a very stolen treasury? Tell me!
            Judges lately became more ridiculous to order Hijab veil in a secular country.

          • Pastor J.J.Jones

            “A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. For out of the heart proceed

            evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, and,

            blasphemies. The love of money is the root of all evil; which, while some

            coveted after, they erred from faith, and pierced themselves with sorrows.”

        • Records2017

          The five errant Judges of the Appeal Court who issued that no-brainer verdict

          on compulsory HIJAB henceforth in all schools across Nigeria are as follows:

          ■ Justice A B Gumel

          ■ Justice M. Fasanmi

          ■ Justice A. Jauro

          ■ Justice J.S. Ikyegh

          ■ Justice I. Jombo Ofor

      • Gibson Bosah

        Copied

        • Right Minded

          Asshole!

    • Oluwole T. Obadina

      @disqus_TeKEbTtJ8r:disqus

      It is so unfortunate that Premium Times places premium on the number of stories run in a day over the public significance of any particular story of public importance. We expect this story on Justice Onnoghen to also
      dis-appear within few minutes, as usual, if Premium Times adjudges the strong arguments posted by
      contributors below too convincing and logically un-answerable on points of law or facts.

      But it is not for Premium Times to actually decide that issue. It is for the reading public. All Premium Times
      should do is allow pro-Hijab Islamists to post their own counter-arguments, if any. That’s the nature of
      public debate, not to hide away so-called sensitive matters from public view since there’s nothing
      sensitive in doing the right thing to uphold the laws and the Constitution of Nigeria on the
      country’s secular status, as the anti-Hijab polemicists are brilliantly doing here.

  • b4batter

    “The judiciary is part of the society and we all know there’s corruption everywhere.” What a helpless and weak response from a prospective chief judiciary officer! Sounds like the judge is conceding that he himself has some corruption skeletons in his cupboard? Perhaps some of the senators (especially the ex-governors) he was facing were once his “clients”?

  • NNAMDI EZENWAFOR UNIJE

    Mr chief of justice for your information,Nnamdi Kanu and co was also repeatedly ordered to be release by the courts but Buhari refused to obey those court ruling…You see why i hate the zoo called the Islamic republic of nigeria government.They are always selective when it comes to doing justice to the Igbos..Justice Onuoghen mentioned Dasuki and zakzaky and left out Nnamdi Kanu..

    • Ex-peacenik

      @disqus_hGvJktiAwR:disqus

      The Trump/Putin clarity of purpose……..

      Not all disputes happening today are resolvable by Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen
      because not all conflicts in Nigeria require justice according to law. The Islamist
      terror in Nigeria requires a different type of justice. Thank God for Donald Trump.
      Islamists would have overrun the naively liberal countries in western Europe, namely
      Germany, Spain and Britain; and gone on to overrun the usually naive Canada too.
      Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are the only two presidents in the world thinking
      correctly that Islamism is pure cancer and is the greatest threat to world peace.

      All other presidents and Prime Ministers
      in the world may as well be mere diagrams. The Trump/Putin clarity of purpose
      will be bolstered in months ahead if Ms Marine Le Pen wins upcoming French
      presidential election and if the Party For Freedom led by Geert Wilders wins
      the election in Netherlands. A new world alliance that’s more sensible than NATO
      and Warsaw pacts, will then emerge with total relevance to today’s crisis.

      • Ex-peacenik

        Netherlands, France, America and Russia
        could then form a separate military coalition of the willing and start focused
        bombing to kill and exterminate Islamic terrorism from our planet, forever. For
        promising during his campaigns to side-line NATO in favour of a new alliance,
        Donald Trump is proved to have been foresighted. NATO is worse than useless
        against Islamist terrorism for so long as bleeding heart liberal countries like
        Britain and Germany are in the NATO alliance. There’s no other way to save
        Christianity and Christians from mass murder in the world than to kill the Muslims
        in all countries of the world who rise in arms with intent to kill Christians, as if
        in sport. That is the justice required in today’s’ world – the justice of bombing
        the hell out of all mad Muslims in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.

        • No-Comment

          Breaking News:
          ……………………

          “The Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has addressed his adherents with
          a speech, the Alsumaria TV Channel reported. The №1 terrorist,a s they call him
          in the West, claimed it’s a goodbye speech. He stated that the battle was lost
          and that all the caliphate adherents should shelter in the mountains in the
          north-west of Iraq. As it is asserted, al-Baghdadi has spread his speech among
          pseudo-Islamic preachers and asked them to get ISIS militants at the front
          acquainted with it.”

          ………Russia News Pravda

          (March 1st, 2017)

          • Gibson Bosah

            Copy cap

        • Gibson Bosah

          Copy copy.

          • Right Minded

            U think everyone copies other peoples comments like you do? Not everyone is brainless like you, dickhead!

      • Gibson Bosah

        Next time ends with #Copied

        • Right Minded

          U think everyone copies other peoples comments like you do? Not everyone is brainless like you, moron!

  • Ibukun Bandele

    Mr chief justice, I wish you luck

  • paul irumundomon

    When you see all these fake generals, who believe in lawlessnes, that statement is just said with no meaning attached. Those who are genuine generals, adhered to the basic rule of law. But in Africa, where by most of these generals are, they are made generals, because of who they know and the religion they practice, they become power drunk.
    Once they travel outside Africa, they are like fools, and baby like tools, they can’t afford to disobey ordinary street light laws. They are all coward outside of Africa, in Africa they turned themselves to mini gods.

    • Gibson Bosah

      Even u is guilty

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