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Buhari accepts Onnoghen’s resignation

President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the resignation of Walter Onnoghen, suspended chief justice of Nigeria.

Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday night.

“President Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28, 2019,” the statement read.

“The president thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished him the best of retirement life.”

In April, TheCable had exclusively reported how Onnoghen tendered his resignation a day after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended that he be compulsorily retired for misconduct.

His associates had told TheCable that Onnoghen chose the option of resignation as damage control.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had filed false assets declaration charges against the former justice at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Onnoghen was accused of operating foreign accounts which he failed to declare as part of his assets.

He was convicted at the CCT and barred from holding public office for 10 years while the monies in those accounts were confiscated.

But Onnoghen had challenged the verdict of the tribunal at the appeal court. The appellate court, which is yet to deliver its final judgment, had said the CCT breached Onnoghen’s right to a fair hearing when it asked Buhari to suspend him.

Before the commencement of his CCT trial, TheCable had reported that the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI), a civil society group, launched a legal move to remove Onnoghen.

Less than 24 hours after the report, the CCB announced that it had received a petition written against the then CJN. But for the crisis, Onnoghen, who is 68, was due for retirement in 2020.

He was sworn into office on March 7, 2017. Here is a timeline on his stay as the head of the judiciary.

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