Lai Mohammed has said allegations of breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers levied against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, do not tally with what the National Judicial Council (NJC)stands for.
His words, “Some have argued that the Justice Onnoghen issue should have been referred to the NJC to handle.
“They would have been right if Justice Onnoghen had been accused of professional misconduct, which is what is within the purview of the NJC.
“The allegations against Justice Onnoghen go beyond professional misconduct. It is the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. And only one body is statutorily empowered to deal with this: The Code of Conduct Tribunal.”
“In one particular judgement he delivered on July 12, 2013, Justice Onnoghen held that the CCT had EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION (emphasis mine) to deal with all violations contravening any of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Let me put this in a layman’s language: All breaches of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers must be handled by the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Pure and simple.
“In other words, Justice Onnoghen’s judgment held that the provisions “expressly ousted the powers of ordinary regular courts in respect of such violations.”