Judge accused of physically assaulting security officer drags him to court

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Photo: Justice Danladi Umar, CCT Chairman

Justice Danladi Umar, Chairman of Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), who is being investigated for allegedly assaulting a security personnel, Clement Sargwak in March this year, has filed a suit against the officer.

Justice Umar in an originating summons dated 13th July, 2021 with file no FHC/ABJ/ CS/671/2021, joined the President of the Senate, Ahmed 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 as defendants in the suit.

The judge in both the originating summons and the suit signed by Sunday Edward (ESQ) and other attorneys from Abuka and Partners on his behalf is challenging the Senate’s Constitutional power to conduct investigation into the matter and the purpose for which it is exercising it.

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He is also asking the court to interpret the constitutional power granted the Senate or House Committees on Ethics and Public Petitions, whether it covers investigating the case of public assaults which he said are part of the constitutional functions of the Police and the Courts of Law.

It reads 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 Commitee, 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”.

The judge therefore prayed the court to order the Senate to discontinue with the investigative hearing, as the alleged assaultee (Clement Sargwak), has been sued by him.

“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 Commitee 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”, the CCT Chairman contended.

Periscope International recalls that Justice Umar was alleged to have physically assaulted Clement Sargwak, a security officer attached to the Bannex Plaza in Wuse 2, Abuja on March 29, 2021.

Following the incident, Sargwak reportedly filed a petition against Umar to the Senate which subsequently mandated its Commitee on Ethics , Privileges and Public Petition to investigate.

The Committee invited the CCT Chairman, who honored the invitation by appearing before it once, but later shunned several subsequent invitations.

At last Tuesday’s sitting of the Committee on July 13, Umar, through his lawyers, informed the members that he was already in court challenging the investigation. Miffed by Umar’s action, the committee ordered him to appear before it unfailingly the following week Tuesday,July 27, 2021 or risk being issued with a warrant of arrest on him.

Meanwhile, the Commitee Chairman, Sen. Ayo Akinyelure has called the bluff of the CCT Chairman saying that his action will also be challenged in the court by legal department of the National Assembly.

“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 said in an interview.

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