Onnoghen: Saraki tasks FG on due process

Saraki

Senate President,  Bukola Saraki has advised the federal government to
ensure that its plans to put on trial the nation’s chief judicial
officer, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, does not cause chaos in the
judicial system and that  due process is not compromised.

Saraki in a statement in Ilorin yesterday,  noted that he believes
that if the government truly has genuine reasons  to put the incumbent
Chief Justice of Nigeria on trial, it should ensure that every step in
the process is transparent and the normal process as provided by the
law is followed to the letter.

He said a situation where the petition which triggered the trial was
submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on Wednesday January 8
and by January 10 on Friday, the Chief Justice was presented with it
for his reply only for the charges to be drafted that same day and
filed in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), all place within three
days and commencement of trial fixed for today, January 14, already
indicate unnecessary haste and short-circuiting of the process of fair
hearing.

He said: “It is important for the government and members of the public
to know that as somebody who travelled this route before, we should
refrain from any media trial and political players should avoid
abusing the judicial process in order to achieve what they could not
get through normal political contests.

“Everybody who is being tried should be presumed innocent until proven
guilty. That is the underlining principle of our justice system.

“The proposed trial of the CJN has once again opened up the debate on
the transparency and neutrality of the fight against corruption. The
haste with which this trial is being pursued leaves a lot to be
desired.

” From last Wednesday when the so-called petition against the CJN was
initiated to the period the trial is scheduled to commence has been
barely three working days, whereas there are pending cases where the
individuals involved have been indicted some months ago, but no
prosecution is being considered.”

While noting that the anti-corruption fight has become a case of a
separate rule for the people close to the executive branch and another
set of rules for the rest of Nigerians, the Senate President stated
that the fight has been compromised and politicized.

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