There was commotion at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) today, as the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, refused to hear the motion of the Senate President’s lawyers on his alleged bias. Umar, who has been under investigation for corrupt practices, lost his temper as Mr. Raphael Oluyede, Saraki’s lawyer, brought to the attention of the court, a motion filed on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, seeking the CCT boss to disqualify himself from participating in the trial based on bias.
The motion contended that the continued presence of Umar on the panel of Tribunal offended the provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which prescribes that “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality”.
However, when Oluyede attempted to bring up the motion, Justice Umar lost his temper and repeatedly yelled at Oluyede to “Sit down.” It will be recalled that with the main prosecution witnesses being drawn from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Umar as Chairman of the CCT is an object of investigation for corrupt practices by the same EFCC.
After Oluyede demanded to be heard, Umar, upset by the revelations, called for police officers to throw out the counsel to the Senate President. However, Oluyede sat down on arrival of the police officers and maintained that he would not be intimidated. These developments, especially Umar’s demeanour to Saraki’s motion, have lent credence to the fact that the CCT boss might in fact be compromised.