Nigeria's senate president seems to be moving from one disappointment to the other since becoming the senate President with the backing of opposition party, PDP. Today his legal team staged a walk-out from the Code of Conduct tribunal after withdrawing their representation in the corruption trial of Mr. Saraki at the tribunal. Though Magaji did not withdraw his services, Raji did.
The lawyers left the tribunal on Thursday after the special court refused to suspend the 13-count trial of Mr Bukola saraki on alleged false declaration of assets.
At the resumed hearing Thursday, Mr. Saraki’s lawyers argued that the case be stood down for the According to Saraki's lawyers, Ahmed Magaji (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN), walked out of the Code of Conduct Tribunal after chairman of the tribunal, Umar Danladi, decided to continue hearing.
The lawyers, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, described the decision of tribunal chairman, Mr. Umar as “judicial rascality... It is a strange situation; it is not done anywhere that a matter is pending before a higher court, as the one in the Supreme Court and proceedings will continue in a smaller court,” Mr. Magaji said.
Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob, had earlier argued that based on Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the application for stay of proceedings, could not be entertained.
Mr. Raji argued that the Section 306 referred to an application for stay of proceeding before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, not the Supreme Court in this matter.
The chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Danladi, ruled that the hearing continue after an hour recess.
When the tribunal resumed, Mr. Danladi ruled that the proceedings should continue.
As the prosecution counsel attempted to usher in his witness, the defence counsels, Messrs Magaji and Raji, left the court.
Mr. Saraki, who had then been ushered into the dock, was asked if he would continue proceedings without his lawyers or request more time to help him get lawyers.
His request for a month to put himself together and possibly get a new lawyer was not granted, as the prosecution argued that the time was too long.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi, then requested 11 days.
The presiding judge asked Mr. Saraki if that time was favourable. He responded saying if it pleased the judge for the hearing to continue after 11 days, it should be on a Thursday or Friday.
The matter was then adjourned till Thursday, November 19.
Saraki was arraigned on September 18, but pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail.
Mr. Saraki left with his final hope, the Supreme court appealed the refusal of the Court of Appeal in Abujato stop his trial at the CCT last week.
The drama keeps dragging on and on... it is our hope that this case will be put to an end and the country can focus on other more imortant issues.