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Sagay: Even a baby must know you can’t get justice against Onnoghen at NJC

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Itse Sagay, chairman of presidential advisory committee against corruption (PACAC), says the National Judicial Council (NJC) cannot address the false assets declaration charges against Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).

In a statement on Wednesday, the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said “not even a baby” expects the council, chaired by the CJN, to indict him of the accusations against him.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had filed a six-count charge of false assets declaration against Onnoghen following a petition by the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI).

But some Nigerians have argued the case ought to have been first treated by the NJC, a body charged with the discipline of judges.

Sagay, however, said those presenting such argument “can’t be serious”.

“They can’t be serious. They must obviously be speaking tongue in cheek. Even a baby, three months old, must realise that no one can get justice against the CJN at the NJC,” the statement read.

“The CJN is not only the chairman of the NJC, he is also the appointor of 20 out of the NJC’s 23 members. The CJN is the NJC.

“Only a grossly ignorant man or an extremely mischievous one could seriously suggest that a matter involving the CJN should be brought before the NJC for adjudication.

“Therefore, the whole idea of taking the present case to the NJC is a nonstarter, for that would make the CJN the Chief Judge of his own case – a clear violation, not only of the Constitution, but also of a long standing common law principle coming all the way from MAGNA CARTER in the year 1215.”

The senior lawyer said rather than argue over who should treat the case, the issue of concern should be whether the CJN is guilty or not.

“Why is Nigeria such a Theatre of the Absurd?” he asked, adding: “Today, we are only talking about preliminary objections, interim injunctions, challenge of jurisdiction, wrong procedure, etc., etc. Nobody is talking about the substantive issue any longer.

“Did he do it? Did he not do it? [That is] the question we should all be asking.”

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