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Justice Onnoghen: How ex-President Obasanjo saved me from conspiracy by some judges

Justice Onnoghen: How ex-President Obasanjo saved me from conspiracy by some judges
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Former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has rated ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo as a better listener than President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking in Abuja at the book launch of Ogwu Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the former CJN said Obasanjo did not act based on falsehood.

Buhari had in 2019 removed Onnoghen — weeks to the presidential election — over alleged failure to declare his assets and operating foreign accounts.

He was thereafter convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and barred from holding public office for 10 years.

At the event, Onnoghen said he was removed from office without being given the chance to defend himself, adding that he was never confronted with the allegations against him.

Onnoghen recounted how a similar incident played out under Obasanjo, saying he was absolved of the allegations because the former president took the right steps.

Narrating what happened at the time, the former CJN said he came across a publication titled “26 rogues on the bench” when he visited Ilorin, Kwara State, and decided to get a copy of the magazine.

Onnoghen said to his surprise, he was among those indicted of alleged illegalities by a judicial commission of inquiry headed by Kayode Eso, a former jurist.

The former CJN said did Eso panel never invited him to hear his own side of allegations leveled against him.

He said the panel had recommended him for sanction but Obasanjo listened to the advice of Kanu Agabi, who was the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice at the time, that he should be given fair hearing.

Onnoghen said Obasanjo had thereafter referred the matter to the National Judicial Council (NJC) where the allegations against him were struck out for lack of merit.

The former CJN said it was unfortunate that Buhari removed him after a rumor that he met with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in Dubai.

Atiku was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election.

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