• We’re not investigating CJN, says Commission
From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen said he has nothing to hide over allegations that he was under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He was reacting to media reports which listed his name among other high profile personalities currently under investigation by the anti-corruption agency.
Others named in the story include Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi and former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
However, the CJN said he was not aware of any allegations or intelligence against him, neither had he been invited or called upon to offer any explanation on any impropriety.
While assuring the public that he has nothing to hide and open to investigation, Justice Onnoghen said he was ready to pay the price to make the nation a better place.
The position of the CJN was contained in a statement released in Abuja yesterday by his Media Aide, Awassam Bassey.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports quoting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as probing the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, for yet-to-be disclosed reasons.
“The reports in the media mentioned the reason for the investigation as “intelligence” which for now we take to be abstract. However, the CJN wishes to use this medium to say it is the first time he is aware of any allegations or intelligence against him, neither had he been invited or called upon to offer any explanation on any impropriety.”
However, the CJN assured the public that he has nothing to hide and is open to investigation.
“As a committed patriot who has spent all his adult life in the temple of justice, the CJN is ready to pay the required price to make the nation a better place.
The commitment of the CJN to the efforts of the current administration to rid the country of corrupt practices is unwavering, and he will stop at nothing to see a new dawn in Nigeria’s Judiciary,” the statement further read.
Onnoghen vowed not be distracted in his efforts to make the Nigerian Judiciary a beacon of well-rounded justice which the entire citizenry will be proud of.
“The public is encouraged to keep faith and trust in the present administration’s fight against corruption and be assured that the CJN is doing his best to reform the Judiciary accordingly,” he said.
Meanwhile the EFCC has dismissed the report on the probe of the CJN as inaccurate, stressing that Onnoghen is not under investigation for alleged corruption.
In a statement released yesterday, and signed by EFCC’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the Commission said although there were petitions filed against Onnoghen at the time he was under consideration for his current position, the agency found no valid claim in the allegations and, as such, he was not under investigation.
He said: “The Commission wishes to state categorically that it is currently not investigating Justices Onnoghen and Kafarati. While Onnoghen was being considered for his present position, the Commission received some petitions which were investigated and found to be without merit and discarded.”
Uwujaren regretted that the report could create disaffection between the EFCC and the judiciary. He, however, did not deny the commission was investigating other politically exposed persons.