Supreme Court Halts Proceedings At CCT

saraki- The Supreme Court has suspended proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) pending the conclusion of an appeal filed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Apex Court.

Earlier on, the Prosecutor told the Supreme Court that he will sign an undertaking, refraining him from doing anything at the tribunal, pending the determination of the suit.

The prosecutor said this while urging the court not to grant a stay of proceedings.

He also asked for accelerated hearing, as not doing so will give room for an accused person to continue to delay his trial.

The Senate President had appealed to the Supreme Court against the October 30 judgment of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the competence of the charges instituted against him and the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him.

Some lawyers who appeared for Saraki at the tribunal on November 5, stormed out of the courtroom in protest against a ruling of the CCT led by Justice Danladi Umar, rejecting their request to adjourn the trial indefinitely because of the pending appeal before the Supreme Court.

The tribunal chairman had adjourned till November 19 the trial, to enable Saraki to engage new lawyers.

However, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had struck out a fundamental human rights application filed by Saraki, seeking to stop his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.

In the suit, Senator Saraki asked the court to declare that his arraignment and trial before the CCT fall short of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution which guarantees his right to fair hearing and personal liberty.

He also asked the court to nullify the charges of false assets declaration pending against him.

Fundamental Human Rights: Saraki Refiles Application

Bukola-Saraki-Appeals-CCT-trialLawyers to the Senate President have refiled a Fundamental Human Rights Application on behalf of Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Federal High Court in Abuja after a High Court in Lagos State struck out the case.

The Counsel to Dr. Saraki, Mr Ajibola Oluyede, said that the case was refiled on Friday.

The Senate President had sued the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ICPC, the Inspector General of Police and the Code of Conduct Bureau.

In the suit, Senator Saraki asked the court to declare that his arraignment and trial before the Code on Conduct Tribunal falls short of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right and Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution which guarantees his right to fair hearing and personal liberty.

He also asked the court to nullify the charges of false assets declaration pending against him.

The Senate President also wanted the court to restrain the respondents from inviting, arresting or prosecuting him on the basis of any allegation arising from his tenure as Governor of Kwara State from 2003 – 2011.

Earlier on Friday, the High Court said that the issues could  not be resolved in Lagos and struck out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

Lawyers Withdraw From CCT Trial

On Thursday, all lawyers representing the Senate President on charges leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) withdrew from the case.

Their withdrawal followed the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to continue trial, a decision, which the lawyers described as “judicial rascality”.

The Tribunal had based its ruling on the strength of Section 305 of the administration of Criminal Justice Act which says that ‘a trial can be concluded and ruling reserved until all questions about the trial are answered’.

Dr. Saraki then asked for a month to reconstitute his defence but lawyer to the Federal Government kicked against it saying that it was another way for the Senate President to “get what he wants”.

The Tribunal, however, ruled that it would give the Senate President one week to reconstitute his legal team.

The CCT has adjourned till November 19.

Supreme Court Appeal

The decision of the High Court in Lagos on Friday came three days after Dr Saraki filed an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on October 30 affirmed the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him on 13 counts of false assets declaration.

Senator Saraki also filed an application for stay of proceedings urging the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings of the Code of conduct Tribunal to try him for the alleged offences pending when his appeal would be determined.

We have not banned ‘Okada’ – Lagos state government

The Lagos state government on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that it has not imposed a ban on the operations of commercial motor cyclists, otherwise known as Okada, on Lagos roads.

The Okada riders are demanding that the court gives an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos state government from hindering their operation or arresting their members for using commercial motorcycles

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye said this while making submissions in a suit filed against the government by four different Okada riders associations.

The motorcycle operators had filed the suit alleging plans to ban their operations by the state government.

Those who filed the suit are the Trustees of National Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Owners and Riders Association; Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria; Trustees of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association; and Okada Welfare Association.

They listed the state government and the state Attorney general as respondents to the suit.

The Attorney General however told the court presided over by Justice Steven Adah that what the Okada riders were reacting to mere newspaper reports.

On the issue of a ban being a breach of fundamental rights of the applicant, Mr Ipaye said that “it has not been alleged anywhere that commercial motor cycles would no longer operate on the roads.”

“What are imminent are regulations which are facts of life in any business. It would therefore not be appropriate in any civilised society for there not to be regulations,” he said.

On the operations of the applicants for commercial purposes, the Attorney General said that since they carry people in return for payment of services rendered, “and if government is to be alive to its responsibilities, it is a business which must be regulated”.

Mr Ipaye also said that the constitution vested the executive with powers and the courts can not intervene in the exercise of such powers.

He therefore urged the court to dismiss the application of the Okada riders stressing that “any one complaining of the action or inaction of an administrative body must show clearly that that administrative body has exceeded the power conferred on it by the constitution”.

Counsel to the applicants, Bamidele Aturu had earlier told the court that there is no law in Lagos State which empowered the executive to ban the operations of commercial motor cyclists on Lagos roads.

According to him, the state house of assembly has not, as at date, put in place any law to back the action of the government to ban, seize commercial motor cycles or arrest the operators adding that the state government also do not have any authority to ban Okada from federal roads.

Mr Aturu also told the trial court that the respondents raised certain fundamental issues in their written address before the court which he said are not justifiable under the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution and certain provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right.

He accused the respondents of embarking on a selective reduction of the applicants’ claim to just the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution.

Citing relevant decided cases on whether provisions of chapter 2 of the constitution are enforceable, he said that section 13 of that chapter gave all organs of government and any person exercising legislative power to implement chapter 2 of the constitution.

“When two sections of the constitution are in conflict, the latter section prevails”, he said.

The presiding judge adjourned the matter to the 4 May for ruling.

The applicants are seeking among other declarations that the proposed ban and restriction of their operations will constitute a violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of movement.

The Okada riders are demanding that the court gives an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos state government from hindering their operation or arresting their members for using commercial motorcycles or in any other ways preventing the members from gainful employment through the use and or operation of their motorcycles.

They also sought an order directing the respondents to release all the motorcycles that had so far been seized.