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Nigeria tribunal bans high court’s chief justice from office

April 18, 2019

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A tribunal in Nigeria has ordered the country’s chief justice removed from the bench and banned him from holding public office for 10 years.

Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen already had been suspended from the Supreme Court. Prosecutors charged him in January with failing to obey laws requiring public officials to declare financial assets.

The tribunal found Onnoghen guilty. He had argued the allegations were without merit.

The tribunal’s chairman, Judge Danladi Umar, also ordered Onnoghen to forfeit money to the Nigerian government.

Critics alleged the justice’s suspension, just weeks before a February election, was an effort by President Muhammadu Buhari to weaken the judiciary. Defense lawyer Okan Nkanu accused the tribunal that removed Onnoghen from office of bias.

Onnoghen is the first chief justice of Nigeria’s top court to stand trial.

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