The chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr Danladi Umar, has taken the Senate to court over the ongoing investigation by its Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions over alleged assault on one Clement Sargwak in March this year at a shopping plaza in Abuja.
Also included in the suit, as stated in the Originating Summons dated 13th July , 2021, are the president of the Senate, 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, Abubakar Malami .
Danladi, in the suit with file no FHC/ABJ/ CS/671/2021, is challenging the Senate’s constitutional power to conduct investigation and the purpose for which it is exercisable.
In the suit, the embattled CCT chairman is asking the court to interpret the constitutional powers granted the Senate or House Committees on Ethics 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 and suit signed by Sunday Edward (Esq) and other attorneys from Abuka and Partners on behalf of Danladi Umar listed him as the Plaintiff while the Senate, the President of the Senate, Senate’s Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as Defendants.
Danladi in the Originating Summons made available to newsmen by the chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, in his office on Friday, seeks the court’s 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 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 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 went further through his attorneys to inform the Senate to discontinue with the investigative hearing, as the alleged victim of the assault (Clement Sargwak), has been sued.
The letter reads: “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 the 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.”
Danladi physically assaulted Clement Sagwark at the Bannex Plaza in Wuse 2, on March 29, 2021.
In seeking redress, the Sagwark filed a petition against Danladi 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 to appear before the committee once, he shunned several other invitations thereafter.
He at the sitting of the committee last week Tuesday informed the members, through his attorneys, 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 warrant of arrest on him.
But after receiving the Originating Summons slammed on the committee and suit filed against Clement Sargwak by Danladi Umar, the committee’s chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, cried out to journalists on Friday on how the hunted was turning to be the hunter.
Addressing newsmen, Akinyelure said with the court summons, it was clear that Danladi would not appear before his committee next week Tuesday, but 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 next week Tuesday,” Akinyelure said.