New Telegraph

Senate accused of prejudice in CCT chair’s case

Sunday Edward, counsel to the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, has accused the Senate of committing prejudice in the assault case between Umar and one Mr. Clement Sargwak.

Edward, who is the head of Abuka and Partners Chambers, made the accusation yesterday, in a statement he issued in Abuja, warning the apex legislative chamber to desist from such action.

According the statement, he gave the warning following some media reports credited to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, that the accused infringed on the rights of a poor Nigerian who did not have money to approach the court for redress.

The lead Counsel argued that the comment by the Senator did not only amount to prejudice but was offensive to the rule of natural justice, given that the Senate’s power to hear the petition was being challenged at the Court of Appeal as a third respondent.

Citing several letters submitted to the Senate, the lawyers to Umar maintained that the matter which the Senate was insisting to entertain was already pending in court, adding that the issue of who assaulted who was also in court. Part of the statement reads: “We are solicitors to Mr. Danladi Umar, the Honourable Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, hereinafter referred to as ‘our client’ and on whose instructions we write.

 

“Our client availed us with a copy of a letter from the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, dated 11th October, 2022. From the said letter, our client was asked to appear before the Committee on Wednesday, 19th October, 2022, by 2:00 pm, for the public hearing of the petition of one Clement Sargwak for alleged assault and violent attack on him by our client.

“The Committee, from its said letter, invited our client to appear before it on 19th October, 2022 because to the Committee, the court had ruled that the National Assembly could not be stopped from doing its work as it is related to the petition.

The Committee did not deem it necessary to disclose that there is a pending appeal on the said matter and that the Committee is the 3rd Respondent in the said appeal.

“We reacted by writing a letter dated 17th October, 2022 (to the Committee) through which we advised the Committee that the court’s ruling it referred to in its letter under reference ’’is the subject matter of APPEAL NO. CA/ABJ/ CV/866/2022 MR. DALANDI UMAR V. SENATE & 3 ORS which is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division —’’ and we forwarded, for the Committee’s confirmation, the acknowledgement copy of the Notice of Appeal duly served on the Senate.

“We were shocked to read the comments credited to the Committee Chairman in different social media platforms which include that ‘the CCT Chairman infringed on the right of a young Nigerian who had no money to approach the court—’. “The said comments are not only judgmental but also prejudicial to the suit that is pending before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (that is, Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/1544/2021 MR. DANLADI UMAR V. CLEMENT SARGWAK).

“How the Chairman of the Committee came to his conclusion, when the matter is yet to be heard, is what we do not understand. We are also at sea as to why the Committee will insist on hearing a petition when its power to hear the same is being challenged at the Court of Appeal and is yet to be pronounced upon.”

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