Amid amusing displays by the Chairman of the Code of Tribunal, Danladi Umar, the tribunal on Friday, adjourned the trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on charges of non-declaration of assets, till March 11.
The tribunal chairman had earlier insisted on adjourning the matter till February 21 in defiance to an agreement between the prosecuting team led by Ibrahim Musa and the defence team led by Chris Uche (SAN).
Defying the the pleas by both the prosecution and the defence to shift ground to either March 18 or 11 which they had agreed on, the tribunal chairman kept shaking his head and contorting his lips in disagreement and in a manner that continually threw everyone in the court into intermittent laughter.
With his face squeezed in an amusing manner, Umar turned sideways to confer with the two other members of the tribunal seated on his left and right sides.
After a relentless plea by the defence and the prosecution that he should allow the March 2 governorship and House of Assembly to be over before the next sitting, the tribunal chairman agreed to adjourned till March 11.
The March 11 proceedings are for the hearing of all pending applications by both the defence and the prosecution.
The pending applications includes one by Onnoghen challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear the charges.
Onnoghen had earlier on Friday pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him by the federal government.
Speaking with journalists after the proceedings on Friday, Onnoghen’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), said with the arraignment of the topmost judicial officer, “It is a very sad day for democracy, a very sad day for Nigeria.
“It is a struggle for the maintenance of the due process and it is a struggle for separation of powers.
“The CJN had to suffer the dignity of coming before this tribunal to take his plea.
“But we are happy that the world will now know the truth that there is more to this case.”