The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday postponed its planned hearing of the three appeals filed by suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen to February 27.
This is the third time, in one month, the court will postpone hearing in the appeals filed against the decisions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) before which Onnoghen is standing trial for alleged breach of code of conduct for public officers.
Onnoghen is, by his first appeal, challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to hear the charge against him, being a serving judicial officer.
He is, in the second appeal, querying the propriety of the CCT’s ruling of January 14 this year, in which it elected to hear all pending application.
The third appeal is against the CCT ex-parte order directing Onnoghen to vacate office as CJN and President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint an acting CJN.
The court had, in late January this year, scheduled hearing in the appeals for February 12 thus year.
When parties got to court, the court could not form a quorum for the purpose of hearing the appeals. Two of the three Justices, required to form a quorum, were said to be attending a seminar.
The court subsequently adjourned to the next day. It could also not hear the appeals on February 13 owing to a request by the Federal Government to be allowed to engage a new lawyer.
Oyin Koleoso, who represented the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), told the court that the AGF has instructed that Aliyu Umar – SAN – (who is prosecuting the charge at the CCT) should take over the case of the respondent.
Kolaoso noted that Umar was, (at the moment the Court of Appeal proceedings were on), at the CCT.
Koleoso sought an adjournment to enable Umar take over the case of the respondent.
Lawyers to the appellant, Chris Uche (SAN) objected to an adjournment, but he was overruled by a three-man panel of the court presided over by Justice Abdul Aboki.
The court further adjourned hearing in the appeals till February 20.
Again, when parties got to court on Tuesday, Umar, who appeased for the respondents, said he has filed an application, in which he, among others sought to be afforded time to familiarise himself with what had been filed in the appeals so far.
Appellant’s lawyer, Uche did not object to a request for a brief adjournment, following which the court adjourned till February 27 this year