By Uche Amunike
The Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, has sued the Senate to court.
CCT Chairman Umar allegedly assaulted one Clement Sagwark at a shopping plaza in Abuja, in March this year.
The originating summons dated 13th July 2021 also includes the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, as well as the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Umar in the suit with File No FHC/ABJ/CS/ 671/2021 challenged the Senate’s constitutional power to conduct investigation and purpose for which it is exercisable.
Specifically, Danladi is asking the court to interpret the constitutional powers granted the Senate or House Committees on Ethics and Public Petitions, if it covers public assaults which, as noted by his attorneys, are part of the constitutional functions of the police and the court of law.
The copies of the originating summons and suit signed by Sunday Edward (ESQ) and other attorneys from Abuka and Partners. on behalf of Danladi Umar, listed him as the Plaintiff. It also listed the Senate, the Senate President, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
Senator Ayo Akinyelure released Umar’s originating summons to journalists, Friday.
Umar asked the court to interpret the powers of the four defendants to investigate the case of assault in question. Also in the summons, the judge asked the court to determine among others:
‘Whether the purported case of assault which allegedly took place at Banex Plaza
on 29th March 2021, forms part of the matters the 1st defendant is constitutionally empowered to investigate.’
‘Whether the 1st defendant and its Committee, that is, the third defendant, are competent to investigate and/or invite the plaintiff in relation to the investigation of the allegation of assault levelled against him.’
“Whether the powers of the 1st defendant to conduct investigation are not by and/or subject to provisions of sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and are not exercisable for the purposes of making law and exposing corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution of administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by the 1st defendant’.
‘Whether the 1st defendant’s move to conduct an investigative hearing on the petition before it is not unconstitutional and does not amount to an unwarranted usurpation of the functions of the Police and of the Courts of competent jurisdiction’.
Danladi then demanded that the court should stop the Senate from conducting a further investigative hearing because the alleged victim, (Clement Sagwark) had been sued.
Part of the summons read:
‘We write to inform you that the case between our client and Clement Sagwark is now before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory ( suit no FCT /HC/ CV/ 1544/2021 Mr Danladi Umar vs Clement Sagwark).
‘The issue as to whether or not Clement Sargwak had discontinued and/or withdrawn his petition before your Honourable Committee is equally sub judice’.
‘We trust that Senate, as the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, will respect due process and refrain from delving into a matter that is before a court of competent jurisdiction.’
Recall that Umar the CCT chairman was allegedly seen in a viral video assaulting one Clement Sagwark at The Banex plaza in Wuse 2, Abuja on March 29, 2021.
The victim filed a petition against Umar through his lawyers to the Senate Committee and Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition to investigate further.
Although the CCT Chairman appeared before the Committee only once, on invitation, he refused to attend other summons by them.
He informed the members through his attorneys last week Tuesday that he was already in court against the investigation.
The panel frowned against his position and ordered him to appear unfailingly before them on Tuesday July 27, 2021 or risk being issued a warrant of arrest.
Akinyerule noted that it was certain that Umar will not appear before the committee next week Tuesday, however his action will be challenged in the courts by the legal department of the National Assembly since no arm of government has the power to stop another from carrying out its constitutional duties or functions.
‘Investigation on the assault meted out to a fellow Nigerian by the CCT Chairman had already commenced before he ran to court, but his move will also be challenged by the legal department of the Senate.’
‘He may not come, but the Committee will still have a session on the matter and other petitions before it next week Tuesday.’