Outraged by Senate’s invitation to Justice Danladi Umar to appear before it, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), an NGO, says the Upper Chamber does not have such powers.
“The Senate does not have the power to summon any judge, including Justice Danladi Umar.
“If there is any credible allegation of corruption against Justice Umar, it ought to be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement agencies and that cannot be the Senate,’’ SERAP said in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
The statement was signed by Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of SERAP.
Justice Umar is the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal that is trying Senate President, Bukola Saraki for 111-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets and money laundering.
NAN reports that Senate had “invited’’ Umar to appear before its Ethics Committee.
SERAP described Danladi’s summons by the Senate as “unconstitutional”.
According to the statement, the Senate cannot arrogate to itself the power to summon judges without violating constitutional safeguards.
“This invitation coming on the heels of the decision by the tribunal for Saraki’s trial to be conducted day-by-day pursuant to Section 396 (6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 is clearly politically motivated, ” it said.
SERAP added that though the Senate is empowered by Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution to conduct an inquiry for the purpose of enabling it to, among others, make laws, it did not possess the power to get involved in an alleged criminal matter.
The human rights group said:“The Senate is in no sense a court, but the police or the anti-corruption agency should.
“For it to attempt to act as one, it will bring about insurmountable legal and political problems.’’