EYEAFRICA TV: Abuja, NIGERIA: The Code of Conduct tribunal on Monday adjourned indefinitely the corruption trial of Nigeria’s chief justice, saying it would await until the outcome of an appeals Walter Onnoghen filed challenging his prosecution.
Tribunal Chairman Danladi Umar announced the adjournment at the resumption of the hearing in the capital of Abuja amid controversy surrounding the trial and controversial suspension of the top judge.
“We hereby adjourn this matter sine die until the appeals court has ruled on the appeals by [Onnoghen] especially in view of the order of stay of proceedings by the court,” Umar said.
The decision came as the umbrella body of lawyers in Nigeria and some local civil society associations held protests in Abuja and southeast Enugu state to reject Onnoghen’s suspension, calling it a symptom of dictatorship by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawyers’ body meanwhile has asked its members to boycott court appearances in protest of the suspension.
The Nigerian parliament, whose leadership has criticised the suspension of the top judge, has also asked the Supreme Court to determine whether Buhari did not usurp its powers to remove judges.
The U.S. and Britain have led international criticism of the suspension but Abuja fired back at critics, telling both to stay off its internal affairs and insisting the chief justice had been suspended in line with the law for alleged corruption and breach of codes for public officials.
It added that the action has no link with the coming ballots as the chief justice played no role in the conduct of elections. But main opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar told a news briefing that the action against Onnoghen was unlawful and must be reversed to save democracy.