A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has barred the Federal Government from freeing the bank accounts of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted the interim order at the hearing of a suit last Friday.
The motion ex parte was instituted by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project Ltd/GTE against the Federal Government and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The group had approached the court to challenge a directive issued by Malami to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to “restrict normal banking operations on certain accounts belonging to Onnoghen.”
According to the AGF, was in line with Executive Order 06 on the preservation of assets connected with corruption.
But in her ruling, Justice Ojukwu declared that the AGF must obtain a valid court order before the bank accounts of the suspended CJN can be suspended.
She said: “That the AGF shall obtain an order of court (ex parte) before freezing the accounts of Justice Onnoghen Walter Nkanu Samuel (in respect of exhibit 8) in compliance with the law if it was not obtained.
“That where it is shown that the order of court was obtained before the freezing of the accounts contained in Exhibit B, the freezing order shall remain valid.”
The court ordered that the order be served on the respondents pending the hearing of the motion notice.
The court adjourned the matter till February 13.
Justice Onnoghen is currently facing a six-count criminal charge of alleged false declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).