rThere are some indications that the defence team of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, will, on Monday, ask the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from the trial.
The application for recusal will be based on the fact that Umar has been charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for fraud and thus cannot be trusted to deliver a fair judgement.
Sources close to his defence team said Umar has been acting in a way that suggests that Onnoghen may not get a fair hearing at the CCT.
“He is facing charges by the EFCC, which means his character and his ability to deliver justice is in question.
“It is very possible that he is even being blackmailed by those who want Onnoghen gone. So, what we want is for him to step aside. We will make that application on Monday all things being equal,” the source said.
This defence strategy is similar to what Senate President Bukola Saraki adopted during his trial in 2016. However, Umar did not step aside because the EFCC had yet to charge him at the time. The fresh fraud charges against Umar were filed last year.
Umar was accused of collecting N10m from Rasheed Taiwo, a former Customs official who was facing false assets declaration charges before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sometimes in 2012. He was alleged to have received N1.8m of the N10m bribe sum through one of his personal assistants, Gambo Abdullahi.
The Onnoghen defence team is also expected to present, as exhibit, a letter written by two other members of the CCT – Justice Robert Odu (retd.) and Justice Agwaza Atedze – asking former President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate the CCT chairman. ble 5 Dark;