‘Onnoghen down with high BP, toothache’

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SUSPENDED Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen is suffering from high blood pressure and tooth ache, his lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, told the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) yesterday.

The embattled CJN is standing trial before the CCT in relation to his alleged breach of code of conduct for public officers.

He was arraigned by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over alleged infractions in his asset declaration forms.

Justice Onnoghen, who attended proceedings on Monday when the tribunal ordered a day-to-day hearing in the case, was absent at the resumption of proceedings yesterday.

His lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, (SAN), told the tribunal that he (Awomolo) was informed Monday night that Onnoghen has developed tooth-ache.

Adegboyega tendered a medical report in support of his claim.

Lead prosecution lawyer, Aliyu Umar, (SAN), also said he got a copy of the medical report, which was signed by one Dr. Francis Uche, the Medical Director of Ideal Medical Services.

Umar said he could not make any observation in view of what the doctor said about the blood pressure of the defendant, which was said to have risen to 410/121.

The prosecution lawyer added: “As an old man, I know how dangerous that could be.”

He said the medical report suggested that Onnoghen was given 72 hours bed rest.

Umar said, though prosecution witnesses were present, the trial could not be conducted in the defendant’s absence.

He added: “Under the circumstance, I will concede that there is a justification for the defendant to be absent.

“Taking into consideration the order of the court yesterday (Monday) on day-to-day proceedings and the health condition of the defendant, I urge the court to adjourn the matter till Monday when we can have five days straight.”

Ruling, tribunal Chairman Danladi Umar, said: “In view of the medical report, explaining the absence of the defendant in court and in consideration of the level of his blood pressure, and with the prosecution having agreed for an adjournment till Monday, the tribunal concede to the adjournment of the matter to Monday, March 18 for hearing.”

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