Nigerian Senior lawyers has condemned the order issued to freeze CJN’s account.
There has been criticism over the order to freeze the account of Justice Walter Onnoghen
Nigerian lawyers described the act as illegal as the chief justice is not being tried for corruption.
Some Nigerian senior lawyers have condemned the alleged order to freeze the account of the chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnighen, by the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami.
The Nigerian Punch reports that a former Nigerian Bar Association president, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Chief Edward Ashiekaa (SAN) also faulted the directive.
Agbakoba in statement said, the attorney-general could not rely on the presidential executive order as the chief justice was being tried for false asset declaration and not corruption.
“It is not proper for the AGF to issue those directives because he is not being tried on corruption charges.
He was charged with false declaration of assets. “So, for me the AGF has exceeded his power to issue those directives. So I expect that lawyers, of course, will challenge it.
The AGF cannot do that.” Ozekhome on his part described it as a move towards dictatorship. He said: “They showed their clear intentions when they filed simultaneously a motion that he should excuse himself as the CJN. Somehow, the plan backfired on the government because of the unanimous public uproar and rejection that greeted it and the tactical move of Onnoghen’s lawyers who refused him appearing physically in court.”
Ashiekaa claimed the move was politically motivated. He said: “You cannot separate what is happening at the CCT from the issue of the freezing of the CJN’s accounts by the AGF. There were claims that the President wasn’t aware. How on earth can you separate these two issues? The order to freeze the accounts was from the AGF who is a SAN and who was supposed to know better. “He wants to drag the image of the judiciary through the mud because of politics. The judiciary, which is insulated from partisan politics, is now being dragged through the mud.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has asked the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to freeze the bank accounts of Justice Onnoghen.
This request was made in a letter on Wednesday, January 16, by the office of Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation. The AGF said this was in line with a presidential executive order .