Senate President Bukola Saraki has demanded that Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja be allowed to deliver judgment in his fundamental rights enforcement suit.
The judge had, on Tuesday, withheld his judgment in the case and announced his withdrawal on the ground that reports by some on-line media, Sahara Reporters and Naij.com, alleged that he had been bribed by the Senate President.
Saraki, in a protest letter dated March 22, by his lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, noted that although he sympathises with the judge, the interest of justice would only be served if the judgment was delivered.
Oluyede, while speaking with journalists on Wednesday, after the submission of the letter to the chief judge, Federal High Court, accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being behind the publications, which, he said, were intended to intimidate the judge.
“It is our argument in the suit that the Code of Conduct Tribunal cannot act independently the way it is currently constituted because we believe Its Chairman, Danladi Umar, who is currently under investigation by the EFCC, cannot be independent in deciding a case being prosecuted before him by the EFCC.
“We have also contended that the EFCC, by admitting that the investigation of the case against our client was done by a special task force, as against the requirement by the provision in Schedule 3 of the Constitution, has usurped the exclusive duties of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). It is on that basis we argued that our client cannot get justice under the current arrangement and asked the court to quash the charge,” Oluyede said. Part of the letter also reads:
“Although one cannot but sympathise with the hard-working judges, who are victims of these vicious attacks. Nevertheless, we find ourselves in disagreement with his (Justice Kafarati) that the interest of justice would be served by his withholding of his judgment and returning the matter to your Lordship for reassignment.
“In our view, the abdication by Justice Kafarati no only fails to meet the end of justice, it also gives momentum to the growth of blackmail tactics and dishonourable conduct targeted at obstructing the administration of justice”.