20190117

I Feel Sad Over CJN Onnoghen's Trial – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says he is feeling sad over the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, on allegations of false and non-asset declarations.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) had scheduled Jan. 14 for the arraignment of the CJN.

However, the process was stalled as the CJN failed to appear before the CCT; and a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja also ordered the CCT to halt proceedings.

Osinbajo, who spoke at the 2019 Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) conference on Wednesday in Abuja, said that President Muhammadu Buhari had no prior knowledge of the arraignment.

The theme of the conference is “Free Press and Objective Reporting in the 2019 Election Year.’’

According to Osinbajo, Buhari’s approach is that institutions should do their work.

“I can tell you for a fact that he did not even know about this until Saturday evening. He did not even know that there will be any kind of arraignment until Saturday evening.

“He has said categorically, do not interfere with whatever institutions are doing; sometimes, it has consequences such as we have today; such that people say how can such an important person be subjected to a trial without the Federal Government?

“But I can tell you without any equivocation whatsoever that he was not even in the know because it is a specific instruction that he gave.

“So, even where somebody else calls a public officer such as Ibrahim Magu of EFCC and says something or the other, he will say `no, no, no, Mr president has said I can do my work.

“My take is that I would rather not have a situation where senior members of my profession are being tried for an offence; certainly, I will rather not have that kind of situation.

“So, I do not feel particularly good about it; as a matter of fact, I feel very sad; that it is going on at all, that is my position."

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