Constitutional lawyer and human right activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, has dismissed the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)’s position that it shares coordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High Court (FHC), the position that made it order the arrest of Senate President Bukola Saraki despite the order of a Federal High Court stopping the prosecution.
“What Justice Umar did amounted to judicial recklessness and a deliberate invitation to anarchy. It is a clear example of using the institution of the judiciary to abuse the citizens fundamental right,” Ozekhome said.
“It is judicial recklessness in the sense that there was already a subsisting order by Justice A.R. Mohammed of the FHC who had ordered the tribunal Chairman and officers of the Attorney General of the Federation that signed the charge against the Senate President to appear before him on Monday.
“In law, what Justice Umar ought to have done was to tell his lawyers to go to the Federal High Court to set aside the order or appeal against it. For him to have been shown a copy of the order and he said `I have seen it’ and still went ahead to issue a bench warrant against Saraki is most reckless and irresponsible.”
Speaking on the power of the CCT, the SAN said: “It is a fallacy for the CCT Chairman to think that he has coordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High Court. Maybe the Chairman is an illiterate on our law and constitutional organogram of the judiciary. If he is aware, he will know that the CCT is not part of the courts recognised by Section 6 of the Constitution which specifically lists all the superior courts and the CCT is not one of them.”
Also reacting, Mr. Utstaz Yunus Usman, SAN, said: “My take is that if there is an order from another court, the CCT ought not to have issued bench warrant because the Federal High Court, whether rightly or wrongly, if a court gives an order, even if you are of coordinate jurisdiction, the other court ought not to proceed with the matter.
“The CCT Chairman ought to have asked the prosecution to go and vacate the order of the Federal High Court first. It is very obvious from this case that politicians are trying to bring anarchy in this country. If there is an order, it ought to be vacated before the bench warrant. The way they are going, politicians should be careful not to bring anarchy and lawlessness to this nation.”