Court adjourns judgment on Saraki’s appeal indefinitely
PDP alleges interference by Appeal Court in election matters
THE Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday adjourned ruling indefinitely on an appeal filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki, challenging his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Mrs. Christy Haruna, one of the court clerks announced the postponement of the judgment at the open court.
“I have been instructed by the court to inform parties and interested members of the public that a new date for the ruling shall be communicated,” she said.
The appellate court had on Friday fixed October 19 to deliver judgment on the appeal.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Saraki is facing charges on alleged false declaration of his assets.
Justice Moore Adumein, who led two other justices of the court, fixed the date for that judgment after entertaining arguments from counsel to parties in the suit.
At that hearing, counsel to Saraki, Mr, Joseph Daudu (SAN) raised five major issues for determination by the court.
Daudu averred that the Code of Conduct Tribunal erred in law by proceeding with the trial with two members instead of the mandatory three as provided by the constitution.
He also held that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to try criminal charges.
On his part, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the prosecution counsel, urged the court to discountenance all the grounds of arguments advanced by counsel to the applicant.
Jacobs had specifically submitted that the tribunal had criminal jurisdiction because of the use of words like “guilty” and “punishment” in the law that established it.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday alerted the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, of reports of alleged undue interference emanating from her office in the activities of various election petition tribunals and other judicial cases.
“While we would not want to believe that the President of the Court of Appeal is so involved, given the sensitivity of her office, we wish to caution in very strong terms, that such is completely unacceptable as it principally detracts from the sanctity of the judiciary as the citadel of justice and erode the trust reposed on it by the people,” the PDP said yesterday.
A statement issued by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, declared: “We expect the President of the Court of Appeal to understand that an impartial judiciary is critical to the survival of our democracy and the stability of this nation. In this regard therefore, we urge her to ensure that there is no further interference in electoral matters in tribunals and courts, as they must be allowed to run through the full course of justice.
Furthermore, we wish to reiterate our earlier call on the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, to guide jealously the independence of the judiciary which he heads, and ensure that any activity that tends to undermine the sanctity of this arm of government is stiffly resisted in the interest of democracy. ”