By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA, April 18 – Nigeria’s most senior judge was sacked on Thursday by a tribunal that convicted him of falsely declaring his assets.
Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari in January, weeks before a presidential election, in a move that triggered accusations of interference in judicial matters.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), which rules on allegations of false asset declaration, said it had found Onnoghen guilty of hiding the extent of his wealth and removed him from office.
The chief justice holds a key role in determining the outcome of Nigerian elections if the results are appealed by a candidate and a tribunal is formed.
Buhari, who has promised to fight corruption in public life, won a second term in February’s election. He beat business tycoon and former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, who is appealing the results.
The CCT said it had also banned Onnoghen from holding public office for 10 years and ordered any assets he could not account for to be forfeited to the state.
Asked by the CCT chairman if he had anything to say, Onnoghen declined to comment. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by John Stonestreet)