Ex-CJN Onnoghen turns 70 in quiet ceremony

Justice Walter Onnoghen

A former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen clocked 70 on Tuesday, the day he would have retired if he had completed his tenure.

Onnoghen hosted family, close friends and associates in a modest ceremony at his private residence in Asokoro, Abuja.

His birthday dinner began at about 7pm and lasted for a couple of hours.

A senior lawyer and close friend of Onnoghen Adegboyega Awomolo was in attendance.

Also present at the event were a retired justice of the Supreme Court Justice Kumai Akaahs; Chief Judge of Borno State Kashim Zannah; Secretary of the National Judicial Council Ahmed Gambo; President of the Nigerian Bar Association Olumide Akpata; and serving judges of various courts.

Onnoghen’s tenure as the CJN and his career on the bench was cut short by a controversial ex parte order issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in January 2019 preparatory to his trial on charges of non-declaration of assets.

He tendered his letter of resignation voluntarily about two days after the National Judicial Council concluded the investigation of the petition of alleged misconduct sent against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and forwarded its recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The CCT on April 18, 2019, convicted Onnoghen of failure to declare assets, ordered his removal from office, barred him from holding public office for 10 years and ordered the forfeiture of the undeclared assets.

On October 6, 2019, the NJC announced that Buhari had accepted Onnoghen’s voluntary retirement.