Saraki’s lawyers’ walkout: Rascality not from the judiciary but the bar

Saraki . Saraki at the CCT, Thursday Nov 5, 2015. His lawyers walked out on the CCT

The President of the Nigerian Senate appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on Thursday November 5, 2015 – and all hell appeared to break loose.

Dr. Bukola Saraki (photo: above) was accompanied by almost half of the members of the senate. The senators everywhere deliberately overwhelmed the CCT.

The CCT was in the process of commencing the full hearing on the 13-count criminal charge of false declaration of assets (perjury) slammed on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, despite the pendency of the appeal before the Supreme Court of Nigeria, when all his lawyers (on Thursday Nov 5, 2015) staged a ( to me, a ‘planned’) walkout from the tribunal.

What irked me in all of that show of shame by Saraki’s team of high caliber lawyers or lawyers of timber and caliber (on Thursday) was what their leader Mr. Mahmud Magaji SAN said:

The learned SAN said that they were not comfortable to take part in what they termed “judicial rascality”. In support of Magaji’s judicial rascality statement, Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN, another of Saraki’s SAN, said:

“On behalf of the defence counsel, we find it most impossible to continue to sit here. We shall be seeking the indulgence of your lordships to withdraw our appearance”.

After that statement the planned and staged walkout began in earnest.

The chairman (judge) of the CCT was in the process of commencing a full trial of Saraki’s case pending a civil matter which was filed before the Supreme Court – ostensibly against a criminal case before the CCT and the prosecution counsel said so while speaking to journalists outside the CCT courthouse and I agree with him, in toto.

Saraki . Saraki's lawyers walkout on CCT

Photo: Saraki’s defence counsel speak to journalists after the walkout from the tribunal on Thursday.

I was flabbergasted  and overwhelmed – more like ‘flabberwhelmed ‘ – if you ask me.

Whatever reason or reasons adduced by Saraki’s legal team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), two other SANs and a retinue comprising of 24 lawyers – for walking out on the CCT bench or walking out on the CCT itself was to me the real rascality – to say the least.

Another misnomer at that CCT’s supposed trial of Saraki for perjury was the noise pollution emitted by some Nigerian lawmakers; senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; people who supposedly made or make laws for the most populous black nation on planet earth.

Senators of the federal republic were seen and heard disrupting CCT court proceedings, shouting themselves hoarse – no, no, no they shouted as if they were in their noisy hallowed red chamber but they were in a court. I found it disheartening!.

The distinguished senators brought their senate rules or misrules to bear on a tribunal, a court of competent jurisdiction in matters bordering on the code of conduct of public officers in Nigeria.

The issue at hand which is totally misunderstood by a lot of Nigerians including many learned or unlearned men and women is that this Saraki case – which will contribute to the richness of jurisprudence in Nigeria is that the case is styled: ‘The Federal Government v. Dr. Bukola Saraki’, and not the Federal Government or CCT, APC or the Presidency v. the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The case is for an individual (Saraki) to go and prove his innocence or otherwise before a statutory court of competent jurisdiction. I am miffed when each time Saraki trudges to the CCT court for trial, a retinue of senators will accompany him, abandoning legislative business and lawmaking (for constituents who voted for them to make laws) to attend to a personal matter between Saraki and the CCT.

Saraki & legal troubles

Twice, senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have abandoned their duty post but on Thursday, they over stepped their senatorial courtesy to constitute themselves into a rabble-rousing emitters of noise pollution in the CCT trial court.

Well, as they say, nations deserve the leaders they get.

By Nnamdi Ebo

Political scientist & Legal scholar

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