A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Bashir Maidugu has said the conviction of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, would heal wounds in the nation’s judiciary.
Maidugu, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) which ordered Onnoghen’s conviction has made a historic and exemplary judgement that would serve as deterrent to other practicing judiciary officers.
He said “Jurists like Walter Onnoghen” who do not care about Nigeria’s legal system, the law and how their “infamous attitude” would impact on the nation’s governance and democratic process should be sanctioned.
“Being the head of the apex court and his decades of service on the bench, and with this development, it is generally believed that this Judge must have caused massive damage to our legal system, the extent to which no one really knows.
“His conviction epitomises how all along a nation helplessly watched as the head of the judicial arm of our national government, armed with the knowledge of the law and vantage position as a serving law officer with enormous resources and strategically placed, exploited our laws and its technicalities to cover up massive fraud and thereby bastardizing the concept of good governance and possibly derail our democracy through judicial terrorism.
“For those of us who are lawyers in training and striving very hard to live within our means, it would have been truly a great national disservice for the head of Nigeria’s Apex Court to be cunningly protected by his colleagues from the same law he knew and knowingly desecrated.
“His offence is almost a strict liability offence as evidenced by his written and oral admissions and the stupendous undeclared sums discovered in his bank accounts in foreign currencies vis-a-vis the position of our law on assets declaration,” he said.
He added that the Bar and the Bench must fight the issue of some judges issuing dodgy and controversial court injunctions influenced by politicians, in order to save the nation’s judiciary from sliding into dangerous perdition.