Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, says the Tribunal is not bound to obey the orders of the High Courts and the National Industrial Court (NIC).
Justice Umar stated this on Tuesday at the resumed sitting of the tribunal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had dragged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, before the Tribunal over allegations of failing to declare his assets.
Amid the controversy trailing the matter, the Federal High Court, Federal FCT High Court, and National Industrial Court had restrained the Tribunal from proceeding with the trial of the CJN.
But Justice Umar insisted that the Tribunal cannot obey the orders of the various courts as they were all courts of equal jurisdiction.
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He also declined to adjourn the trial of Justice Onnoghen indefinitely and ordered the defendant to move his motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
Earlier, the lead counsel to Justice Onnoghen, Wole Olanipekun, had informed the three-man panel of the orders which restrained it from proceeding with the trial.
He argued that it was his responsibility, as an officer of the court, to inform the Tribunal of the orders of the various courts.
Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the defendant has appealed to the Court of Appeal, challenging the order of the Tribunal to hear the motion challenging its jurisdiction along with the trial.
He added that the appeal at the Appellate Court has been adjourned till Thursday, January 24.
But the prosecutor, Mr Aliu Umar, stated that the Tribunal was unique and not subject to the supervision of other courts but the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
He also argued that the Tribunal was not subject to the rulings of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court, stressing that there was no order from the Appeal Court restraining the Tribunal from sitting.
Umar, thereafter, asked the Tribunal to make an interim order directing the CJN to step aside even if the Tribunal was inclined towards adjourning the trial indefinitely.
In its ruling, the Tribunal held that the trial of the CJN would not be adjourned indefinitely as informed by the defence.
It later fixed Monday, January 28 for the continuation of Justice Onnoghen’s trial.