Embattled Senate President condemns arrest warrant against him
The embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday took a swipe at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for ordering his arrest.
The chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, issued a bench warrant against Dr. Saraki, brushing aside a Federal High Court order seeking to stop the Senate President’s arraignment.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Senate President wondered why the Tribunal should ignore a subsisting court ruling to should order his arrest.
In the statement titled ‘CCT Defiance of Subsisting Court Order: Our Stand’, Olaniyonu stated that following the development in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) while “he (Saraki) had stated and maintained that he was ready to submit himself to due process of the law on any issue concerning him, he also believes he has an inalienable right to resort to the same judiciary for protection when he feels his fundamental rights are about to be infringed upon. “It is for this reason that Dr. Saraki, having satisfied himself that the case filed by the CCB and the manner in which the case was filed show that he will not be given justice, resorted to the Federal High Court for the determination of the issues of competence of the prosecutor as well as compliance with the procedure stipulated in the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
“The Federal High Court on Thursday, September 17, 2015, therefore ordered that the all parties in the case should appear before it on Monday, September 21, 2015. The implication of this ruling by a Court of competent jurisdiction is that the sitting today has been overtaken by event. It is for this reason that Dr. Saraki chose to go about with his normal official schedule.
“Today at the Tribunal, Counsel to the Senate President, Mr. M. A. Mahmud (SAN), raised a motion stating that there is a pending constitutional matter before the Federal High Court to be decided on Monday and that the Tribunal should hold the trial until the constitutional matter is disposed of.
“We are however dismayed that the Tribunal chose to disregard the order of the Federal High Court and the motion to suspend hearing till Monday when all parties are expected to argue their positions on the constitutional matter.
“It is also a surprise to us that despite the application by the lead counsel to the Senate President that he will produce Dr. Saraki on Monday and the personality of the person involved as the Number three man in the country, the Tribunal insisted on issuing a warrant of arrest as if its intention is simply to embarrass Dr. Saraki. We are not unmindful of the fact that the Tribunal is acting under political influence and external pressure. This is dangerous to our democracy.
“The conduct of the Tribunal today left nobody in doubt that it cannot do justice on the matter before it. It is also clear that today’s decision is an abuse of the rule of law which portends danger to our judicial system. The Tribunal has equally set a bad precedent in the way and manner it conducted itself during the proceedings.
“We want to emphasise the fact that this is not part of any war against corruption but using state institutions to fight political opponents and seeking to achieve through the back door what some people cannot get through democratic process.