Uproar ensued in the course of the proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), in the case against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
This abruptly brought a sudden end to the proceedings in order to permit temper to calm down in the light of the hot exchange between tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar and lead counsel for the defence, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).
The uproar ensued when the tribunal Chairman insisted that proceedings must continue despite agreement, by lawyers to the prosecution, Aluyu Umar (SAN) and Awomolo, that the case be adjourned to a later date in view of some recent developments in the case.
The tribunal Chairman however insisted on going ahead with the hearing pending applications instead of ruling on the joint position presented by lawyers.
Awomolo stood up to appeal to tribunal Chairman to consider the position presented by lawyers to the prosecution and defence, for an adjournment and to this effect, Umar ordered Awomolo to sit down.
He (Awomolo) was accused of encouraging delay and waste of time, an observation he objected to and told the tribunal Chairman that it was wrong to say such things about him.
Awomolo complained about the manner the tribunal Chairman described him which according to Umar did not bother him; he is only concerned in continuing with the case.
At this junction, the prosecution lawyer sought for a short stand down, which was granted.
30 minutes later when the court resumed, Awomolo apologized to the tribunal for his outburst.
“What happened few minutes ago is an unfortunate one. I am sorry if the chairman felt I did not treat the bench well. There are times when tempers will rise, but I ask for forgiveness,” he said.
The member 1 of the tribunal, William Atedze also tendered apology on behalf of the tribunal.
He said: “We are in a learning process. You know the pressure with what is happening in the country now. We plead that you continue to excercise patience. On behalf of the chairman and both of us, we equally want to apologise for what happened. We assure you it will not repeat itself again.”
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) thereafter adjourned to February 13, the trial of suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen.
The tribunal chairman thereafter, said he had conceded to adjourn the matter at the instance of the prosecution and defence.
He however, added that “The presence of the defendant is needed here. Before he can make any application, he must first take his plea. There are many decisions of the Supreme Court to this effect.
“I appeal to the defence team to ensure the defendant is present at the next meeting.”