Crime Watch

The immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen has been restrained from leaving the country; the order which is alleged to have come from the Presidency. Saturday Punch reported that the move may be part of another fresh probe into Onnoghen’s matter; the former CJN was convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for non-declaration of his assets being a public officer.

According to the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS report concerning the former CJN seizure of his passport stated that Mr Onnoghen, his wife and daughter were attempting to travel to Accra, Ghana when they were accosted by the men of the NIS officers.

The report revealed, “On November 11, 2019, retired Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, was attempting to travel to Accra, Ghana. He was in company with his wife, Nkoyo, and daughter.

“His passport, with number A50445233, was flagged because Justice Onnoghen’s name was on the watch list. The passport is currently in custody of the NIS.”

It was revealed the passport was his Nigerian passport, not a diplomatic one.

Meanwhile, Mr Onnoghen will have to approach the presidency to find out why his passport was seized, the officer disclosed.

However, a source from the judiciary revealed that Mr Onnoghen was about to challenge the decision of the CCT over his conviction, saying this may have angered the Presidency to seize his passport to make him have a rethink.

The Appeal Court has condemned the manner in which the Presidency handled Onnoghen matter.

In a judgment by the three-man bench led by Justice Stephen Adah, it was unanimously ruled that the CCT’s ex parte order breached the ex-CJN’s right to a fair hearing.

While reading the lead judgment, Justice Adah opined that the proceedings of the CCT shouldn’t have been conducted “in a shady manner” the way the ex parte order was obtained by the prosecution.

However, the court concluded that it cannot upturn Onnoghen’s conviction since the trial had already taken place.