The trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false declaration of assets turned dramatic, yesterday, as Saraki’s lawyers, comprising three Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 24 other lawyers walked out of the court abandoning the Senate president in the dock.
The defence lawyers staged a walk-out following the refusal of the tribunal chairman, Justice Danladi Umar to suspend the trial until Saraki’s appeal before the Supreme Court is determined.The Senate President had gone before the apex court to challenge the constitutionality of the charge which was preferred against him by the Federal Government, as well as the jurisdiction of the two-man tribunal to entertain same. He prayed the Supreme Court to set aside an appeal court judgment that gave the tribunal the nod to try him.
Meantime, Saraki’s lawyers, yesterday, accused the tribunal of engaging in an act of “judicial rascality”, by refusing to accord respect to the apex court which they said was already seized of the facts of the case, saying they would not take part in an “illegal proceeding”.
When the matter was called yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, informed the tribunal that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal had in a judgment it delivered on October 30, paved the way for full-fledged trial to commence on the criminal case against Saraki.
Rotimi insisted that the appellate court, in its verdict, settled Saraki’s contention with regards to the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him.
Posted by jeanne-francoise