Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria due to be arraigned for alleged false assets declaration charges, was absent in call when his trial commenced on Monday morning.
Danladi Umar, the Code of Conduct Tribunal chairman, called Mr Onnoghen’s case at about 10:08 on Monday, and Mr Onnoghen was absent.
Wole Olanipekun, a senior Nigerian lawyer who is leading a team of 46 other senior lawyers to enter defence for the chief justice, began by challenging the jurisdiction of the case.
“You have to first determine whether you have the jurisdiction to try this matter,” Mr Olanipekun said to the tribunal chairman.
Mr Olanipekun said Mr Onnoghen has not been indicted by the National Judicial Council as legally required of serving judges before his matter was picked up by the tribunal following a petition filed by a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Mr Olanipekun also said Mr Onnoghen was not given enough time to prepare for his arraignment before being summoned by the tribunal.