A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, said the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, acted on wrong counsel when he shunned the Code of Conduct Tribunal to answer criminal charges levelled against him.
He said it was immoral of Saraki to be employing different delay tactics to ridicule the court, scandalise the judge and frustrate due process of law, rather than go before the CCT.
He also wondered whether his colleagues would not frustrate the anti-corruption effort of the Federal Government, saying there was need for change of orientation among lawyers.
Noting that the CCT, like an election petition tribunal, was a special court, Awomolo wondered why Saraki would be advised to head for a Federal High Court to challenge his pending case before the CCT.
“I think the Senate President was wrongly advised to stay away from the tribunal. The tribunal acted within the law to have proceeded with the arraignment and order for his arrest.
“Whether the charges filed were lawful or whether the senior state counsel who filed the charges was authorised or not are matters that should have been taken before the tribunal, not before the Federal High Court.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that any cause, matter or claim which does not arise from or relate to specified items under Section 251(1) of the Constitution, should not be filed at the Federal High Court no matter the parties.
“We all know that the decision or interpretation of the vailidity of jurisdiction or competence of the charges filed before the CCT or the so-called locus standi of the state counsel is ultra vires the Federal High Court.
“The Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act allows any officer of the Ministry of Justice to institute charges before the tribunal and no such authority can be challenged by any person,” Awomolo argued in a statement on Monday.
He also faulted the appeal filed by Saraki’s counsel, Chief Joseph Daudu, against the order of Justice Umar Danladi, who ordered Saraki’s arrest.
He added, “Now, an appeal was allegedly filed against the decision of the tribunal that the IGP should produce the Senate President. Where is the right to appeal under the Act? The only right to appeal is limited to final decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The counsel for the Senate President knows the law.
“Why scandalise the chairman for doing his job? Think for a moment If an election petition is filed at election tribunal, do you ask a Federal High Court to determine its validity or competence of the petitioner?
“It is important that counsel should consider the status of his client before adopting a strategy.
“For the number three citizen to employ mundane strategies that ridicule the administration of justice, scandalise the judge, appeal where there is no right of appeal and apply for a stay of proceedings to frustrate his trial rather than face the due process of the law, is sad, immoral and diminishing of the esteem of his office. It is insensitive and lacking in integrity, with respect.”