A federal high court in Abuja has ruled in favour of the Nigerian Senate in the suit filed by Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar over the case of an alleged assault on a security guard at a shopping mall in Abuja.
Delivering Judgement on Tuesday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, says the Senate has the power to investigate the CCT Chairman adding that the CCT boss failed to display high moral public standards by his conduct and with the Code of Conduct Bureau being a product of an Act ratified by the National Assembly, it, therefore, has powers to investigate his conduct.
The court subsequently dismissed the suit by Umar seeking to stop his investigation by the Senate Committee Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, for lacking in merit.
Umar in May 2021 instituted the suit against the senate, challenging the power of the upper legislative chamber to probe the assault allegation against him.
In March 2021, Umar was caught on video hitting a security man who had told him his vehicle was parked in the wrong space at a plaza in Abuja.
In his defence, Ibraheem Al-Hassan, CCT spokesperson, said the guard was rude and could not provide a reasonable explanation why Umar should not park in the said space
The senate committee on ethics had invited Umar over the incident, following a petition that was submitted to the committee.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/671/2021, Umar prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the senate, its members and agents from conducting an investigation into the case.
He asked the court to determine if the assault case is a matter the senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate.
However, Kafayat Suleyman, counsel to the senate, asked the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the upper legislative chamber is empowered under section 88 of the constitution to investigate allegations of misconduct against public officers.
The four defendants in the matter are the senate, the senate president, the senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions, and the attorney-general of the federation.
In his judgment on Tuesday, Inyang Ekwo, the judge, held that section 88 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, gave the senate the power to investigate any public officer accused of engaging in acts of misconduct.
He held that the suit constituted an abuse of the judicial process.
Ekwo stated that since both the CCT and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) are products of an Act that was ratified by the national assembly, their officers, are also subject to its investigative powers.
He, therefore, dismissed the suit as lacking in merit.