Presidency Reacts To Onnoghen’s Conviction

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Nigerian presidency said the conviction of embattled Chief justice Walter Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false assets declaration is “a major victory for the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration”.

“The rule of law would lose its meaning and validity if only the weak, the poor and powerless are punished for their violations of the law. Countries succeed because the rule of law is evenly upheld and enforced,” President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said on Thursday.

“The war against corruption would go nowhere if the high and mighty are spared because of their influence and connections. You can’t fight corruption by allowing impunity because the rule of law cannot function where impunity is tolerated,” he added.

Although Onnoghen reportedly resigned few weeks after his trial at the tribunal began, the chairman of the tribunal Dalnadi Umar said he should be removed immediately. He was also stripped of all benefits attached to former offices he held.

Onnoghen will lose funds in five bank accounts traced to him and has been barred from holding public office in the next ten years.

Shehu affirmed that the outcome of the trial “demonstrates clearly that the law demonstrates clearly that the law is no respecter of persons, titles, social or political connections”.

“The war against corruption would go nowhere if the high and mighty are spared because of their influence and connections. You can’t fight corruption by allowing impunity because the rule of law cannot function where impunity is tolerated,” he added.

He further stated that the conviction of the embattled chief justice” should send a clear message that the dragnet against corruption will be spread widely to hold public officials accountable, whether they are politicians, Judges, civil servants or holding positions of public trust”.

But Onnoghen has rejected the Code of Conduct Tribunal’s judgment against him and has filed an appeal challenging the ruling.

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