TIMELINE: Onnoghen’s two years stint as Nigeria’s Chief Justice

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

Following the conviction of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on April 18, PREMIUM TIMES reviews the sequence of events that led to his conviction.

November 10, 2016 – President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Onnoghen as acting CJN.

February 8, 2017 – Acting President Yemi Osinbajo nominated him as the substantive CJN.

March 1, 2017 – Mr Onnoghen was confirmed by the Senate.

March 7, 2017 – He was sworn in as substantive CJN by Mr Osinbajo.

2019 Drama

January 10 – The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) received a petition against Mr Onnoghen from one Dennis Aghanya of the Anti-corruption and Research-based Data Initiative (ARDI).

January 11 – Mr Onnoghen made a statement to the CCB in his office where he admitted to having forgotten to list some assets.

January 11 – Charge of false and non-assets declaration filed against him.

January 14 – He failed to appear for his arraignment. His lawyer said he was not personally served.

January 14 – A National Industrial Court in Abuja restrained CCT from going ahead with the trial. Two Federal High Courts also made similar orders.

January 16 – Mr Onnoghen was ‘personally’ served with a court summon.

January 22 – Absent again in the tribunal. His lawyers, comprising 40 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 50 other lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, asked for an indefinite adjournment. Tribunal dismissed the application, said all high courts and industrial court orders not binding on tribunal.

January 23 – CCT granted ex-parte order granting leave for Mr Onnoghen’s suspension.

January 25 – Mr Buhari suspends the embattled CJN, appoints Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN.

January 28 – CCT adjourns trial indefinitely.

February 4 – CCT reconvenes following Court of Appeal dismissal of Mr Onnoghen’s stay of proceedings motion.

February 13 – CCT orders Mr Onnoghen’s arrest following an application by the federal government.

February 15 – Mr Onnoghen appeared in court, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He was granted bail based on own recognizance

March 12 – Again, Mr Onnoghen was absent at the CCT due to ‘high blood pressure, tooth-ache.’

March 18 – The federal government called its first witness, a former Director of Federal Political Department of the CCB, Awwal Yakassai.

March 29 – CCT rejected Mr Onnoghen’s no-case submission and then ordered him to open defence.

April 1 – Mr Onnoghen called his driver as his sole witness.

April 3 – NJC sent a report on Mr Onnoghen to Mr Buhari.

April 5 – Mr Onnoghen sends a letter of retirement as CJN to President Buhari.

April, 15 – Adoption of final written addresses at CCT.

April, 18 – The CCT convicted Mr Onnoghen of the charges.

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