An Aba lawyer, Victor C. Nwaugo, has urged Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen to clear his name.
He said the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) should be “bold” enough to face the charge as anything to the contrary would create the wrong impression about him.
Nwaugo recalled that allegations of misconduct were not new in the Supreme Court even if not proven.
He said in a statement: “Hon Justice Uwaifo in his valedictory party first drew the nation’s attention to the rot at the Supreme Court. He accused the CJN then of awarding contracts to his wives.
“In fact, Justice Uwais was accused of awarding contract to his second wife, then a lawyer.
“The accusation was made by a group known as Derivative Front believed to be based in Southsouth of Nigeria.
“Exactly on 21st June 2005, Mr Ephraim Duru had appeared before the Supreme Court in Appeal No. SC/ 161/2001, The Honda Place Vs. Globe Motors to argue his application for transfer of motion then pending before the Supreme Court from the Panel chaired by Justice Uwais to another on grounds of likelihood of bias based on corruption.
“Uwais was accused of ordering for supply of several pieces of Honda vehicles from Honda Place even when a dispute of who between Honda Place and Globe Motors had the sole distributorship right of Honda vehicles in Nigeria.
“The allegation also carried the fact that certain pieces of Honda vehicles were supplied to the Supreme Court by Honda Place.
“As a result, Ephraim Duru was hounded by very many senior Advocates of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) threatened to prosecute him and take him before Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC).
“It took the courage of four Aba lawyers: Ukpai Ukairo, O.O.Anyadikw, Victor C. Nwaugo and Age Nwachukwu to stand to the defence of Duru both in court and NBA NEC meeting in Aba.
“There was a write-up tagged Before Ephraim Duru is crucified, which was well circulated before NEC members who came for meeting in Aba wherein the role of Duru, in that case, was well explained.
“Lord Chancellor of England from where we borrowed our system, Lord Francis Bacon was convicted of corruption; Lord Macclesfield was reputed for his prolific demands for pecuniary aggrandizement. Both suffered the consequences of their actions.
“Our own Justice Onnoghen is facing a charge of breach of Code of Conduct as a public officer and all you hear some lawyers raise is ‘PDP this way’, ‘APC that way’, ‘Son of Niger Delta’, etc.
“Some quote irrelevant case of Nganjiwa vs. FRN without querying Onnoghen’s innocence in the accusation.
“Justice Onnoghen has in the case of Ahmed vs. Ahmed 2014, Vol 231 of LRCN stated the position of the law that any charge bordering on breach of Code of Conduct by a public officer under schedule 5 is exclusively triable by Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
“So, the actions we take today or the things we say today may hunt us tomorrow. For me, Hon Justice Onnoghen: how do you plead – guilty or not guilty?
“Only bold step towards this direction will clear your name. Any other thing, be it injunction or directives of four Niger Delta governors will end up giving you a permanent tag of a corrupt man in our minds.”