Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and popular human rights lawyer, said it was wrong for Bukola Saraki, the Senate president to suspend Senate’s sittings whenever his case was to be heard at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
According to him, the action of the Senate and its President was an assault on the nation’s collective morality, The Nation reports.
He added that the Senate president violated Paragraph 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by suspending Senate’s sittings to enable him to attend court sittings in company of fellow senators.
Falana advised Saraki to stop suspending Senate to attend his trial at the CCT with other senators.
He disclosed this in an address, titled: As Corruption Fights Back, delivered on Monday, November 9 at the investiture of Dare Oseni as the 2015/2016 President of the International Association of Lions Club, Lagos Isolo Lions Club, at Samkoll Graden, Idimu, Lagos.
The lawyer stated: “If this morally despicable behaviour is not halted, the distinguished senators may soon resolve to appear in the various courts in the country in solidarity with other members who are facing terrorism and corruption charges.
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“As the Senate President, Dr Bukola is required to preside over the affairs of the legislative house in the discharge of its constitutional duty of making laws for the country. Attendance at court sittings in solidarity with any criminal suspect is certainly not part of the constitutional responsibilities of the senate.”
The activist noted that it was wrong to allow public servants facing corruption allegations to remain in office in the course of their trial, adding that the right to do was to step aside till they are cleared of such allegations.
He pointed out that paragraphs 303, 404 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules (Corrected Version 2008) stipulates that when a public officer is charged to court with a criminal offence he/she shall be interdicted and cease to report for duty until the determination of the case.
Saraki is accused of a false declaration of assets and is currently facing trial at the CCT following a 13-count charge brought against him of alleged corruption and false declaration of assets while serving as Kwara state governor.
His trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal commenced on September 22 in Abuja. Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba, had on behalf of the 8th Senate, said he and his colleagues were strongly behind the embattled senate president.
The Senate president has been attending his trial accompanied by his colleagues suspending Senate sitting for that day. They converge on the National Assembly from where they take off in a convoy of buses for the tribunal.
Senator Ibn Na’Allah has described his trial at the CCT as a persecution rather than a prosecution.
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