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Published On: Wed, Mar 13th, 2019

CCT: Onnoghen’s absence stalls trial

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By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

The trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, over non assets declaration was stalled, yesterday due to sudden sickness of the ex-CJN.
Onnoghen is standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on a six count charge levelled against him by the federal government.
At the last adjourned date, the Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ordered that the proceedings shall be conducted on a day-to- day to ensure speedy dispensation.
However, when the matter came up for hearing, yesterday, Onnoghen was absence in court for the trial.
Counsel to the defendant, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, informed the tribunal that the defendant was not in court due to ill health.
According to him, Onnoghen had a tooth-ache and high blood pressure which was said to be around 210/121.
Substantiating their claim, Awomolo SAN, tendered a medical report from Ideal Medical Services, Abuja where the defendant was said to have been treated.
The medical report signed by one Dr Francis Uche, the Medical Director of the hospital recommended among others that Onnoghen must observe 72 hours bed rest for his high blood pressure to be properly monitored.
In his reaction, the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar SAN, acknowledged receipt of a copy of the letter and informed the tribunal that the issue of health is of very important.
He, consequently, applied that the trial be adjourned till March 18 toenable Onnoghen have sufficient rest as recommended by his doctor.
Meanwhile, Aliyu informed the tribunal that they are ready to proceed with the matter with his witnesses present in court.
However, he said that he had to concede to an adjournment because of the importance of the health of the defendant.
In his short ruling, Danladi Umar aligned with the position of the prosecution and the strength of the medical report.
He, therefore, adjourned the matter till Monday, 18th March for hearing.
Onnoghen had pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been admitted to bail on self-recognizance.

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