Bukola Saraki Honours Tribunal And Showed Up At Court With 50 Senators In Solidarity-True to his words while speaking on Monday to the Nigeria Senate House Reporters, and the prior notice by his social Media managers, who assured that he would live up to the nation’s expectation, Dr Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s No3 political citizen has appeared before the nation’s Code of conduct Tribunal on criminal charges.
Saraki breezed into the complex at about 9.30 accompanied by more than 50 Senators and few members of the House of Representatives,rumoured to be PDP stalwarts.
The day proceedings commenced
There was heavy security dispatch to the venue and the security operatives commenced early screening of officials before entry into the CCT. Some officials of the anti-bomb unit of the Nigerian police force are also on ground in order to nip in the bud any act of terrorism at the venue.
At about 11.30 am prior to the commencement of the proceedings, Police Commissioner Federal Capital Territory Police Commissioner had announced that journalists would not be allowed into the venue of the trial for coverage and that there would be no live broadcast. As the case commenced, there was hot argument as Senator Saraki seated behind his solicitors and in the middle of his fellow Senators
This irked the prosecution who objected his siting position and requesting that he should be seated in the dock. The Prosecutor won the argument as Saraki was moved into the dock.
As the case commenced, Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar insisted that Senator Saraki should take a plea of Guilty or Not Guilty before moving the case forward and that the Tribunal was in had the legitimacy and is constitutionally empowered to try criminal cases and that the case that brought Saraki too the Tribunal is a criminal case and that the Tribunal had jurisdiction.
As he sat uncomfortably in the dock, the Tribunal Clerk read into his hearing all the 13-count charges.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
At this juncture, Justice Umar withdrew Saraki’s bench warrant.
The legal team for the Senate president were the same that had appeared before the tribunal led by Joseph Daudu, ( SAN) a former president of the NBA.
There was no initial recording allowed and some overzealous security men were so desperate, seizing phones and recording devices before entrance into the venue while later permissions were allowed but the gesture was not extended to all the front bench spectators.
The counsel to Federal Government, Rotimi Jacobs in his opening speech said this is the first time in his years of practice that a case will be heard by three courts at the same time. Counsel to Saraki, Joseph Daudu does not want the Senate president to take his plea.
The counsel to Federal Government, Rotimi Jacobs in his opening speech said this is the first time in his years of practice that a case will be heard by three courts at the same time ( day). Counsel to Saraki, Joseph Daudu does not want the Senate president to take his plea.
`But, counsel to the federal government is praying the court that the accused (Saraki) should go to the accused box, and in a reaction to the prosecutor’s prayer, Saraki’s counsel corrected the judge that Saraki should not be referred to as the accused instead he should be called the defendant.
The Senate president while taking his plea as the trial commenced, pleaded not guilty to the 13 count charge leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.Saraki explained that he came on his own volition to show he is a law abiding citizen, adding that he is just hearing the charges for the first time.
Among those people who came to support Saraki at the Tribunal to express their solidarity and arriving at about 9.32am are his spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, ex-governors Dr. Sam Egwu of Ebonyi state, Theodore Orji of Abia state, now a serving senator. Other senators comprised Ike Ekweremadu, Shaba Lafiaji, Aliyu Wamakko, Rafiu Ibrahim, Tayo Alasoadura, Hamma Misau, Samuel Anyanwu as well as Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi.
The tribunal has, however, adjourned the trial to October 21st and 23, 2015.