Spokesman for the Yoruba Pan Cultural Group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, has alleged that a siege has been laid to the Abuja residence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen by men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Odumakin, who made this known through a video clip making the round yesterday, described the ‘siege’ as desperation on the side of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Onnoghen is being prosecuted by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on a six-count charge for alleged false asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
This was consequent upon a petition by a group, the Anti-corruption, Research and Data-based Initiative.
The case, which began on Monday, had about 89 Senior Advocates of Nigeria storming the CCT.
It was, however, adjourned till January 22, after Onnoghen’s lawyers argued that the defendant was not duly served with the court summons, and that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction on the matter.
And simultaneously, a Federal High Court, Abuja, issued a similar order Monday afternoon, following separate ex-parte applications, seeking to suspend the ongoing trial of the head of Nigeria’s third arm of government.
And amidst all these, there are claims that the EFCC, last night, raided the residence of the CJN.
Making the allegation in a statement yesterday, Odumakin said: “It has just come to our notice that men of the EFCC are currently in the house of the CJN to effect his arrest despite the fact that the matter is already in court. We cannot understand the desperation by this administration to heat up the polity by carrying out this reckless action.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call EFCC to order to back up, in order not to create unnecessary crisis in the system, by effecting the arrest of the CJN when the matter is in court. This amounts to self-help, and is not in the place of the federal government to encourage people to seek for self-help.”
Odumakin also noted that “impunity is too much. The president should ensure that they maintain the rule of law, this is the position of Southern and Middle Belt Forum.”
But in a reaction, the EFCC denied the claim, describing it as a figment of imagination of the authors of the ‘fake news’
EFCC’s spokesman, Tony Orimolade, in a statement yesterday, said such fake news was aimed at creating anarchy in the country.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been drawn to the falsehood which has been spreading on the social media that the EFCC has arrested the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
“This is not only a figment of the imagination of the purveyor of the fake news, but an evil machination by the creator and carriers of the news aimed at creating anarchy in the country.
“For the record, the EFCC never went to the house of the CJN for arrest, neither was invitation extended to him.
“Several calls and short messages received all point to the fact that the brains behind the fake news had one thing in mind: to act as agent of destabilisation. We would not give in to their plots.
“One of the architect of the fake news, Femi Fani-Kayode, was quoted as saying ‘Why have the EFCC surrounded the home of CJN Onnoghen and why are they seeking to arrest him? These people want Nigeria to burn! Buhari, call off your dogs before it is too late! This is a democracy and not a Gestapo state! In the name of God let this madness stop’.
“Another arrowhead of the fake news, Yinka Odumakin shared a non-existent video which has gone viral.”
“We want to assure Nigerians that while we would fight corruption in line with the mandate setting up the Commission, agents of darkness, in the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode, Yinka Odumakin and his cohorts, would never be able to manipulate the people against the Commission.
“We also want to assure Fani-Kayode, Yinka Odumakin and other purveyors of the evil news to be ready to defend their actions in the court of law as the EFCC will file libel suit against them without further delay,” Orimolade further added.
Court stops Onnoghen’s arrest
In a related development, the National Industrial Court has issued a restraining order against the CCT, stopping it from proceeding with the trial of the CJN Onnoghen.
The ruling, which came 24 hours after a similar one by an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, followed a motion ex-parte, seeking to suspend further action by parties to the matter, pending the determination of an application challenging the CCT trial.
In a response to a request brought by an applicant, Peter Abang on Friday, Justice Sanusi Kado of the NIC, made an interim order for the suspension of the trial pending the determination of the suit challenging Onnoghen’s false asset charge at the CCT.
The ruling, published on the website of the industrial court yesterday, also restrained the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar; the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami from proceeding with the hearing, pending the determination of the substantive application before the court which will be heard on January 21.