Senate halts probe of CCT chair for alleged assault

Danladi umar

The Senate, like the biblical Pontius Pilate, yesterday, washed its hands off the celebrated case of alleged assault brought against Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, by an Abuja-based security guard, Clement Sargwat, and his lawyers.
The upper legislative chamber, through its Senator Ayo Akinyelure-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition, halted further investigation into the matter after Umar, last week, constrained it with an originating summons challenging the jurisdiction of the Red Chamber and its panel to entertain the matter.

The CCT chair had approached court to determine if the lawmakers were not usurping the powers of the police and judiciary in initiating the probe.

In the notice dated July 13, 2021, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Akinyelure, Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and Sargwat were listed as defendants.

Umar, in the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/ CS/671/2021, had contested the panel’s constitutional power to conduct the investigation.

Specifically, he prayed the court, through his lawyers, to interpret if the constitutional powers granted the Senate or the investigating committee covered public assaults and also if the functions were not exclusive to the police and the courts of law.

When the matter came up at the panel’s hearing yesterday, Umar was conspicuously absent, and for the first time, failed to send any attorney to represent him, an indication that he was done with the committee, as he awaits his day in court.

Brandishing the summons, Akinyelure announced the panel’s decision to set aside the case, pending hearing of the suit.

He said Umar circumvented the Senate by going to court midway, having appeared before the committee twice.

“The CCT chairman appeared the first time only to deceive us to give him time to study the petition for which he was given three weeks, only for him to turn around to bring an originating summons,” the lawmaker stated.

The position of the committee, however, did not go down well with the lawyer to the petitioner, Timizing Venjiris, who told Akinyelure’s panel that Umar’s refusal to appear and his originating summons was not enough to restrain the Senate from going on with its investigation.

He argued that what was served on the legislative chamber was a mere service that should not stop it from concluding its assignment.