Tribunal Orders Arrest of Saraki, Senate President Runs to Appeal Court
For the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, it is more mountain to climb as the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja Friday ordered his arrest for failing to appear before it. This has triggered a cauldron of legal confusion as a court of competent jurisdiction had barred the Tribunal from prosecuting the Senate President.
However, hours after the Tribunal ordered the Inspector General of Police to effect the arrest of Saraki and present him before the Tribunal on Monday, his legal team rushed to the Appeal Court to nullify the arrest warrant.
Saraki, who is a former governor of Kwara State, was expected to appear before the Tribunal to answer to charges of false claims in his Assets Declaration Form submitted with the agency.
Specifically, the Tribunal had slammed the Senate President with a 13-count charge bordering on alleged failure to declare assets he acquired while in office as governor of Kwara State.
He was governor of Kwara State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 2003 to 2011 during which period he served as Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
On Thursday, the Senate President reportedly obtained an order of the Federal High Court stopping the Code of Conduct Tribunal from commencing his trial already slated for Friday.
The court equally ordered the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the chairmen of the two bodies and the prosecuting counsel in the case and representative of the Federal Minister of Justice, M. S. Hassan, to appear before it on Monday.
However, the Tribunal went ahead with its sitting on Friday in the trial of Saraki.
Hassan told the Tribunal that Saraki, who was represented at the trial by his lawyer, M. Mahmud, should be arrested for flouting its directive for personal appearance.
After arguments, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, granted the prayer of the prosecuting counsel. Umar ordered for Saraki’s arrest and that he should be brought to court on Monday.
The Tribunal Chairman further directed the Inspector- General of Police, Solomon Arase, to effect the order and producer the Senate President in court on September 21.