The Federal Government called its second witness in the trial of suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, just as the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has threatened to jail for 28 years journalists who misrepresent the facts of the proceedings.
The threat was issued by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, who was irked by what he described as distortion and misrepresentation of facts by some newspapers of the tribunal’s last proceedings.
Umar, who brought copies of the newspapers that published the stories he complained about, said any journalist who commits such infraction again might have to remain in prison until his retirement in 28 years’ time.
He said, “Henceforth, any journalist carrying concocted or discredited statement which is not adduced before this tribunal, I will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law heavily on the person.
“The journalist will languish there (prison) and may remain there until I retire – that is about 28 years from now.
“The person will be summarily sent to prison because that is contempt.
“It does not matter whether the contempt is committed in facie curiae (before the court) or ex facie curiae (outside the court).”
Onnoghen is being prosecuted before the CCT by the Federal Government on charges of false and non-declaration of assets.
Meanwhile, the prosecution led by Mr Aliyu Umar, SAN, called the second prosecution witness shortly after the tribunal chairman made his remarks.
Mr Awal Yakassai, a retired director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, said he received from Onnoghen two assets declaration forms for years 2014 and 2018 on December 14, 2016.