An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has ordered Danladi Umar, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to appear before the Senate for questioning on alleged assault brought against him in a public petition.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order on Tuesday in a suit instituted against the senate by the chairman of the CCT
The CCT chairman had approached the court seeking to stop the Senate from investigating him on alleged public misconduct.
- On March 29, 2021, a video of the CCT chairman assaulting a security guard at Banex Plaza in Abuja went viral.
- The security guard petitioned the CCT chairman before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions of which the committee invited him to appear before it.
- In order to avoid appearing before the Senate, the chairman in turn filed a suit against the Senate, the Senate president, the AGF and the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions
- In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 671/2021, he sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Senate, its members and agents from conducting or continuing to conduct investigations into the allegations of assault levelled against him via a petition submitted to the Senate.
- The chairman challenged the power of the Senate to investigate him on the alleged assault.
- He asked the court to determine whether the alleged case of assault which took place at Banex Plaza in Abuja on March 29, 2021, formed part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate or police functions.
- He also asked the court to determine whether the Senate and its Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions are competent to investigate or invite him in relation to the investigation of the allegation of assault and whether the powers of the Senate to conduct the investigation are not governed or subject to the provision of sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution.
- He sought the court to declare that the purported case of assault that took place on March 29, 2021, did not form part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate.
- He also asked the court to declare that the Senate’s move to conduct an investigation in the matter is unconstitutional and it amounts to unwarranted usurpation of the functions of the police and of the court of competent jurisdiction.
What happened in court
Justice Ekwo held that Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution under which the CCT boss sought to be protected by the court did not confer any protection or refuge on him.
The judge dismissed the chairman’s suit on the grounds that it lacked merit as he had no cogent reason to stop the Senate from carrying out its constitutional functions.
The judge said that Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act exposed the Chairman to investigation by the National Assembly than any other Nigerian.
“As such, it will be illogical for him (The chairman) to seek to stop the senate probe as doing so will give an impression that he is above the law,” The judge held.
Justice Ekwo held that the case lacked merit hence, the declaratory reliefs sought by the chairman for an injunction against the Senate could not be granted.
Justice Ekwo noted that as a public officer administering a law relating to the conduct of public officers, Umar had no reason to institute the suit to stop the Senate from probing a public petition seeking justice.
The judge held that the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal Act 2010 were established by the Act of the National Assembly hence, the chairman was subject to investigation by the National Assembly.
What you should know
- The defendants in the suit include the Senate, the Senate President, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.