Group urges Buhari to appoint CCT judge, seeks reform
Human Rights group, Access to Justice (A2J) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a replacement for the retired judge of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) so that the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki can go on without Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar .
The group in a press conference said there are insinuations that Umar might not be fair in his adjudication of the matter as a result of the allegations that bothers on his intergrity.
In the conference jointly addressed by the group’s Executive Director, Mr Joseph Otteh and the Programme Officer, Mrs Chinelo Chinweze, A2J said that Umar is too scathed by allegations of abuse of office and corruption to continue in office.
They stated that they conducted an inquiries and the report of their findings is that all is not well within the tribunal.
“It is no longer tenable for Danladi Umar to continue in office as the chairman of the tribunal. The allegations against him have brought public ridicule and embarrassment which has done incalculable harm to the image of the tribunal and the judiciary in Nigeria.
“Mr Umar needs to make way for the CCT to become a useful institution asset in Nigeria’s fight against corruption”, they stated.
They however recommended that the code of conduct tribunal should no longer operate as an agency or institution under the executive branch of government.
“Its role and functions are judicial. As such, it should be established under the judicial branch of government and supervised by judicial bodies like National Judicial Council or the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
“Amendments should remove limitations in the jurisdiction of tribunal. The reform should allow the tribunal adjudicate over cases brought by other anti- corruption agencies against public officer and not just from the Code of Conduct Bureau. The tribunal should not be tied to the apron strings of the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“It is our view that the code of conduct tribunal has been, so far light hidden under the bushel. The body can offer a lot more than it has done, given its unique power. The public excitement generated following the referral of some high profile cases to the tribunal of late has put the spotlight on the flaws of the agency that has remained under the radar for so long”, they declared.
They therefore maintained that it is an opportune moment for President Buhari’s administration to take far reaching action to loosen the shackles on the tribunal, transform it fundamentals and rebuild public trust in its ability to fight corruption.