Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai has an advice for the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

He has urged Onnoghen to step down to protect the institution he represents.

el-Rufai argued that in law, forgetting to fill the Assets Declaration Form cannot be an excuse.

The governor stated this on Thursday while featuring on Sunrise Programme of Channels TV.

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He said “all the arguments being made that the allegations against the CJN should first go to the National Judicial Council (NJC) were wrong.”

“The admission that I did not declare my assets, that infraction alone, is enough for him to step down and protect the institution. All these court orders and lawyers are not helping the judiciary or the legal practice and are not helping Nigeria.”

He also said, “The man has admitted that “I did not declare my asset, I forgot”. If the matter was simply that the Code of Conduct Bureau has made an allegation and filed charges in the tribunal, I will presume innocence, but I have seen a written statement by the Chief Justice saying that “…yes I have these accounts, yes I did not declare them, but I forgot”. Forgetting is not a defence in law.''

The governor said it was wrong to claim that the NJC ought to have looked into the allegations against the CJN before arraigning him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“The constitution is very clear, if the matter has to do with Code of Conduct of public officers, the only court, the only tribunal vested with the power to consider the violations of that code is the Code of Conduct Tribunal. It can try anyone, including the President.

“The NJC is supposed to take petitions on the professional misconduct of Judges; if a Judge kills or steals, it is not NJC, it is the regular court. You cannot say the NJC is a self-appointed court, a special court that will first have to clear judges before they go to regular court.”

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