Nigeria’s Chief Justice Onnoghen condemns disobedience of court orders

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen
Suspended 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.


wits Advert

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.”


Akwa-ibom Advert

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.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.