The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday disclosed that it has no axe to grind with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, over allegations that he is corrupt.
It described a report in a national daily on Wednesday that Onnoghen and other serving and former top officials of the federal and state governments judiciary, were under investigation as totally off the mark.
Reacting to his traducers, Justice Onnoghen urged them to dig into his past and present activities in office because he has nothing to hide.
The print medium had in the story titled: “CJN, Okonjo-Iweala, Fayemi, Fayose, Others Under Probe – EFCC,” claimed that a list of high-profile Nigerians, such as Onnoghen, former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court, were under investigation by the EFCC.
But in a swift reaction to the report, Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, denied the newspaper report that, “the list, sighted by one of our correspondents via an EFCC source on Monday, was recently sent by the anti-graft agency to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), based on request.”
Uwajaren stated that the report did not emanate from the EFCC and the allusion to “an EFCC source” is diversionary and mischievous.
According to Uwajaren: “For the avoidance of doubt, cases under investigation communicated to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation by the Commission are classified information and it is troubling how such would be leaked to the media.
“The mastermind of this leak is out to create disaffection between the Commission and, particularly, the Judiciary.
“The Commission wishes to state categorically that it is currently not investigating Justices Onnoghen and Kafarati,” he stressed.
When Onnoghen was being considered for the Office of the CJN, the EFCC received several petitions which were investigated and found to be without merit and discarded, he emphasised.
*I’ve nothing to hide, says CJN
Meanwhile, Justice Onnoghen has said that he has nothing to do with the allegation.
The CJN in a statement from his office disclosed that he had nothing to hide, adding that his office is open to any form of investigation by the anti-graft agency.
He pledged his commitment to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption battle and urged Nigerians to keep faith with the nation’s judiciary.
Onoghen said: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports quoting the EFCC as probing the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, for yet-to-be disclosed reasons.
“The reports in the media mentioned the reason for the investigation as “intelligence” which for now we take to be abstract.
“However, the Hon. CJN wishes to use this medium to say that it is the first time he is being aware of any allegations or intelligence against him, neither has he been invited or called upon to offer any explanation on any impropriety.
“However, the Hon. CJN wishes to assure the public that he has nothing to hide and is open to investigation.
“As a committed patriot who has spent all his adult life in the temple of justice, the Hon. CJN is ready to pay the required price to make the nation a better place.
“The commitment of the Hon. CJN to the efforts of the current administration to rid the country of corrupt practices is unwavering and he will stop at nothing to see a new dawn in Nigeria’s Judiciary.
“He will also not be distracted in his avowed reform