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Aborisade urges CCB to reveal asset declaration of other public officials 

Femi Aborisade

Human rights lawyer, Femi Aborisade, has urged the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to make reveal assets declarations of all public officials including President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Aborisade, who was reacting to the conviction of Justice Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in a statement in Ibadan, yesterday, said: “While supporting government’s fight against corruption and establishing the highest moral standards and accountability in the conduct of public public officers, Onnoghen’s conviction should not be celebrated as victory for the fight against graft.

“Rather than being seen as victory for the fight against judicial corruption, it should be seen as nothing but victory for planting a culture of fear, subjugation, intimidation and domination of the judiciary by the executive arm.

“Without going into the merit of the allegations against Justice Onnoghen and far from arguing that Onnoghen is guilty or not guilty of the allegations, the CCT decision to assume jurisdiction in the first place, given the background facts in the public domain, is a political, rather than a judicial decision.”

He added that on January 9, 2019, the CCT declined jurisdiction in the case of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta on the ground that he had not been previously processed through the National Judicial Council (NJC) before being brought to the CCT, as established by the Court of Appeal in the case of Justice Ngajiwa.

He explained that in Justice Onnoghen’s case, there was no reference to the NJC before he was taken to the CCT, based on a petition written by a non-governmental orgaisation (NGO), headed by a former political aide of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Indeed, Justice Onnoghen had earlier been suspended through an ex parte injunction, which had been fixed for hearing on January 28, this year, but secretly heard and granted before date earlier fixed for public hearing.

“What the foregoing suggests is that the executive arm of government is determined to convict Justice Onnoghen by all means, at all costs, whether or not the procedure adopted is fair.

“Fighting corruption is a constitutional mandate of government, as prescribed in Section 15 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

“However, where the fight against corruption is not carried out according to constitutional and statutory procedures, it amounts to arbitrariness, which would be tantamount to tyranny, with a view to subjecting society to political hegemony and domination of a segment of the ruling class,” he stated.

He also argued that where the fight against judicial corruption is carried out arbitrarily and without regard to constitutional and statutory procedures and principles, it means the executive arm of government seeks to subjugate, intimidate and dominate the judiciary with a view to subjecting the judiciary to the whims and caprices of the executive.

 

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