Graft trial of Nigeria's top judge resumes on Monday: court

Lagos (AFP) –


The corruption trial of Nigeria's top judge will resume next week, the country's financial ethics court said Thursday, a day after his bid to stop the trial was rejected.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal, which hears cases of alleged non-declaration or false declaration of assets, said in a statement that the trial of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was fixed for Monday.

Onnoghen is accused of failing to declare foreign currency bank accounts, in breach of rules governing public officials.

He was suspended last week by President Muhammadu Buhari pending the outcome of his trial at the tribunal.

The suspension has been widely criticised by the opposition, lawyers and international community, including the European Union, the United States and Britain because of its timing just weeks ahead of elections.

Former military ruler Buhari, 76, has been accused of overreaching his powers in bypassing parliament, which constitutionally has to sanction such a move.

On Wednesday a Nigerian appeal court dismissed a bid by Onnoghen to stop his corruption trial.

Nigerians will go to the polls on February 16 to elect a new president and national parliament while governorship and state assembly elections take place two weeks later.

Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who came to power in 2015, is seeking a second term and he faces a formidable challenge from former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Onnoghen, as head of the Supreme Court, would have given a final ruling in case of disputes arising from the polls.