The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has said he is willing to submit himself for investigation for alleged corruption by the federal government.
Mr. Onnoghen stated this while reacting to a media report that he and some prominent persons were being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had on Wednesday refuted the report, stating that the CJN was not among those it was in a preliminary stage of investigating.
Reacting to the report through a statement on Wednesday signed by his special assistant on media, Awassam Bassey, Mr. Onnoghen said he had nothing to hide and would therefore submit himself if invited for questioning.
“Our attention has been drawn to media reports about an alleged report quoting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as probing the Hon. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, for yet-to-be disclosed reasons.
“The reports in the media mentioned the reason for the investigation as “intelligence” which for now we take to be abstract.
“However, the Hon. CJN wishes to use this medium to say that it is the first time he is being aware of any allegations or intelligence against him, neither has he been invited or called upon to offer any explanation on any impropriety.
“However, the Hon. CJN wishes to assure the public that he has nothing to hide and is open to investigation.
“As a committed patriot who has spent all his adult life in the temple of justice, the Hon. CJN is ready to pay the required price to make the nation a better place.
“The commitment of the Hon CJN to the efforts of the current administration to rid the country of corrupt practices is unwavering and he will stop at nothing to see a new dawn in Nigeria’s Judiciary.
“He will also not be distracted in his avowed reformative efforts to make the Nigerian Judiciary a beacon of well-rounded justice which the entire citizenry will be proud of.
“The public is encouraged to keep faith and trust in the present administration’s fight against corruption and be assured that the CJN is doing his best to reform the Judiciary accordingly,” the statement said.
The report published by Punch Newspaper had cited information allegedly obtained by sources within the EFCC regarding a fresh investigation into allegations of fraud against prominent personalities, including Mr. Onnoghen.
In its own reaction, however, the EFCC denied conducting any investigation into alleged financial infractions by the Mr. Onnoghen and another judge of the Federal High Court, Abdul Kafarati.
The EFCC however noted that there were investigations against some other persons which is at a preliminary stage.
“The Commission wishes to state categorically that it is currently not investigating Justices Onnoghen and Kafarati,” stated Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesperson for the EFCC.
“While Onnoghen was being considered for his present position, the Commission received some petitions which were investigated and found to be without merit and discarded.”
The commission decried the leakage of the information on its activities, saying it could undermine the ongoing investigations.
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