Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Chief Olisa Agbakoba has said the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, was wrong to say that it was a court of equal jurisdiction with the Federal High Court, FHC.
Other eminent lawyers agree. According to Attorney Carol Ajie, “The CCT Chair Danladi should receive, first Form 48 and later on Form 49 should be served on him one after the other by the Federal High Court Sheriff, with a view to committing the CCT Chair Danladi to jail as direct consequences of his disobedience of the orders of the FHC.”
Writing on a Nigeria online forum, OurCountryNigeria, the respected lawyer added that “now is the time for all civilized nations and all people to stand against tyranny and ridiculing of our courts. President Muhammadu Buhari and anyone else should respect our laws.”
“There are two kinds of courts in Nigeria, superior and inferior. All the superior courts are defined in Section 6 of the constitution; it does not include the Code of Conduct Bureau, it does not include the National Industrial court,” Agbakoba said.
According to him, “The Code of Conduct Bureau is not a superior court; it is an inferior court and because it is an inferior court, it is amenable to the judicial review jurisdiction of a superior court of record like the Federal High Court.”
The Federal High Court, he said had power to review the judicial work of the Code of Conduct Bureau because it is an inferior court.
Also reacting, Ebun Adegboruwa described the Tribunal’s action as an assault on rule of law. “What the Code of Conduct Tribunal did in spite of the order of the High Court amounts to judicial abuse of the due process of the rule of law and amounts to judicial rascality on the part of the serving judge of Code of Conduct Tribunal.”
Adegboruwa said the Tribunal was under the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court, adding that the option left for the Tribunal was to approach the court that gave the order to either challenge it or vacate it.
He said, “It will amount to total anarchy for the parties affected by an order to decide whether or not to obey the order. So, to that extent, the bench warrant issued against the Senate President is ultra vires, it has no place in law and cannot be enforced, because if the order of the High Court to the tribunal was not enforced also the bench warrant of the tribunal to the Senate President cannot be enforced. You cannot use wrong to achieve a right.”
Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the attempts to link the ongoing trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki to him are unacceptable.
President Buhari said this in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu. He said views to the effect that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) could only act upon external instigation were equally uninformed.
According to the presidential aide, there is no place in law that the Bureau and the Tribunal should take instructions from any quarters. He said as an independent institution equal to any superior court of record; the tribunal is set up by the constitution to determine the issue of default, false declaration or forgery in assets declaration.
“This therefore is purely a judicial process and has nothing to do with the Presidency”, he said. He said those who had an axe to grind with what they are doing should do it in a judicial manner by challenging those actions in a proper court of law.
“Let them hire a good team of lawyers to prove their innocence,” Shehu said. “Government has no desire to persecute anybody. The President has vowed to respect the rule of law and this is what he is doing by staying out of this matter. He has said times without number that the war against corruption has no sacred cows,” he added.
Shehu noted that “Even if the president wants to help, there is no way he can do anything. Is he going to ask the judge to stop the trial?”