Friday, September 18, 2015 9:34 pm
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has described the call for his arrest by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Friday as an abuse of rule of law.
Saraki, who said this in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu said the ruling by the tribunal was a danger to the judicial system.
“The Tribunal today left nobody in doubt that it cannot do justice on the matter before it.
“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.
“We need to caution here that in a desperate bid to settle political scores and nail imaginary enemies, we should not destroy our democratic institutions and heat the polity for selfish reasons. Let us all learn from history,’’
It explained that Saraki’s absence from the tribunal was based on a legal advice from his counsel that the tribunal would respect the decision of the Federal High Court, which was a superior court of records.
It further explained that Saraki relied on “ a letter from the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice Mahmoud Mohammed, directed at the Chairman of the Tribunal last May that they are not judicial officers and are inferior to the regular High Court as defined by the law and that they take official oath not judicial oath.
“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, 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 statement noted that as a law abiding citizen, “Dr. Saraki will not do anything to undermine the judicial process and authority but he will always act to protect his fundamental human rights.
The tribunal had earlier on Friday, ordered the arrest of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for failing to appear before it.
The tribunal had invited Saraki to appear before it on account of a 13-count charge of alleged corruption levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.