Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, accused of beating up one Clement Sargwak in March this year, has initiated a legal action against the Sargwak and the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions investigating the matter.
Included also in the suit as defendants, according to the originating summons dated July 13, 2021, are President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, chairman and members of the panel, as well as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Umar, in the case numbered FHC/ABJ/ CS/671/2021, is challenging the upper legislative chamber’s powers to conduct the investigation and the purposes for which they are exercisable.
Specifically, the embattled CCT chair is praying the court to interpret the constitutional powers granted by the Red Chamber or its committee if they cover public assaults or if the task did not fall entirely within the purview of the police and judiciary.
Copies of the originating summons were signed on Umar’s behalf by Sunday Edward and other attorneys from Abuka and Partners.
In the court papers made available to journalists at the weekend in Abuja by the committee chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, the CCT boss reinforced his quest to know if the four defendants are constitutionally empowered to investigate the matter.
Reacting, the lawmaker regretted that the hunted was becoming the hunter.
At a press briefing, Akinyelure said with the summons, it is clear Umar would not appear before his committee tomorrow, vowing: “But his (plaintiff) action will be challenged in court by the Legal Department of the National Assembly since no arm of government is empowered to stop another from carrying out its constitutional duties or functions.”
Umar has only appeared before the panel once, spurning subsequent invitations.
The summons read in part: “Whether the purported case of assault, which allegedly took place at Banex Plaza on March 29, 2021, forms part of the matters the first defendant is constitutionally empowered to investigate
“Whether the first 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 first defendant to conduct the investigation are not by and/or subject to provisions of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and are not exercisable for the purposes of making law and exposing corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by the first defendant.
“Whether the first 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.”
Umar, therefore, urged discontinuation of the probe.