What appeared to be dramatic supervened on Thursday during the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting, after the tribunal Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, refused to entertain the motion filed by counsel to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on his (Umar’s) alleged bias and got involved in a war of words with the counsel of the Senate President.
While dismissing the application asking him to disqualify himself from the case, Umar ruled: “That motion as far as the tribunal is concerned is of no consequence; not worthy to be entertained and is hereby thrown out.”
The defence lawyer, Mr. Raphael Oluyede, had brought to the attention of the court, a motion filed on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, seeking the CCT boss to recuse himself from participating in the trial based on bias.
The motion argued 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”.
But when Oluyede attempted to bring up the motion on Thursday, Justice Umar repeatedly yelled at him to “Sit down.” After Oluyede demanded to be heard, Umar called for police officers to throw out the counsel to the Senate President.
However, upon the arrival of the police officers, the defence lawyer took his seat but maintained that he would not be intimidated. At this point, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, intervened and pleaded with the tribunal Chairman to pease the air.