Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, has said he didn’t push for the establishment of special courts. One of the reporters whom Onnoghen interacted with after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa had quoted him as saying so.
In his clarification, Awassam Bassey, Onnoghen’s media assistant, in a statement said the CJN was “misinterpreted”.
“The exact words of the Hon. CJN, during his interaction with State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, were as follows:
“It is the Executive that has the prerogative in conjunction with the legislature to set up courts, including the Special Courts, under our Constitution. It is not the duty of the Judiciary nor that of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“‘If the executive and the legislature, who have the powers, decide to establish a special Court or any other Court for that matter, the Judiciary will run it by providing the manpower,” the statement said.
Also, in the statement, Onnoghen explained the role of the Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases Trial Monitoring Committee he had set up. He said the committee was to identify defaulters responsible for the unnecessary delay of court cases.
“So, the people must know who is actually causing the delay. That is why I set up the Committee; and it is made up of the Defense Counsel, the Prosecutor and the Judiciary under the NJC (National Judicial Council).”