Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, (CCT), Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar, who was alleged to have assaulted one Clement Sargwak in March this year, has dragged the victim and the Senate panel investigating the matter to court.
Others joined in the suit as contained in the Originating Summons, dated 13th July 2021 were Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, the chairman and members of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions as well as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN.
Umar, in the suit with file no. FHC/ABJ/ CS/671/2021 is challenging the Senate’s constitutional power to conduct an investigation and the purpose for which it is exercisable.
Specifically, the embattled CCT chairman is asking the court to interpret the constitutional powers granted the Senate or House Committees on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, whether it covers public assaults which as averred by his attorneys, are part of the constitutional functions of the Police and the courts of law.
Copies of the Originating Summons, signed by Sunday Edward and other Attorneys from Abuka and Partners on behalf of Umar, listed him as the Plaintiff while the Senate, its President, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and the Attorney General of the Federation as Defendants.
In the Originating Summons made available to journalists, on Saturday, in Abuja, by the chairman of the Senate committee, Sen. Ayo Akinyelure, the CCT chairman is seeking court interpretation of the powers of the four defendants to investigate the case of assault in question.
The summons read in part: “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 3rd 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 the 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.”
Umar went further through his Attorneys to ask the Senate to discontinue the investigative hearing as the alleged assaultee (Clement Sargwak) has been sued.
“We write to inform you that the case between our client and Clement Sargwak is now before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (suit no. FCT/HC/CV/1544/2021 Mr. Danladi Umar vs Clement Sargwak) and the issue as to whether or not Clement Sargwak had discontinued and/or withdrawn his petition before your Honourable Committee is equally subjudice.
“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,” the letter reads.
The CCT chairman had as widely reported in print and electronic media physically assaulted Sagwak at the Bannex Plaza in Wuse 2, Abuja on March 29, 2021.
In seeking redress, the assaultee filed a petition against Umar to the Senate which it gave its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate.
Though the embattled CCT chairman had on invitation, appeared before the committee once, he shunned several other invitations thereafter.
He informed the committee through his attorneys during last Tuesday’s sitting by members, that he was already in court against the investigation, which the committee kicked against and ordered him to appear before it unfailingly on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, or risk issuance of an arrest warrant on him.
But after receiving the Originating Summons slammed on the committee and suit filed against Sargwak by Umar, Sen. Akinyelure cried out to journalists on how the hunted is turning to be the hunter.
Sen. Akinyelure at a press briefing in his office said with the court summons, it is clear that the CCT chairman would not appear before his committee tomorrow, adding that his action would be challenged in the 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.
“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.”