A civil society organization known as Citizen for Defence of Democracy, CDD, on Tuesday organized a mass protest at the Code of Conduct Tribunal,CCT, demanding fairness in the ongoing trial of the Senate Present, Bukola Saraki.
The protesters were seen playing drums while displaying banners with the inscription, ” Leave Saraki Alone”, “Nigerian Youths/Student to CCT, be courageous and strike out the charges against Saraki,” among others. Saraki is currently standing trial for false declaration of assets at the CCT.
Convener of the protest and National Coordinator of CDD, Tochukwu Ohazuruike while speaking with Newsmen just outside the tribunal premises where the protest is holding said Saraki was being subjected to persecution and not prosecution.
Ohazuruike wondered why the CCT Chairman ,Danladi Umar who is on administrative bail from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, would preside over saraki’s matter.
“Why would a man who was granted bail for corrupt practices by the same EFCC be allowed to preside over Saraki’s matter?
Ohazuruike berated the tribunal Chairman for his action during yesterday’s sitting. He said, “At yesterday’s sitting, the Chairman of the tribunal was busy correcting the witness who was giving his testimony, this is unacceptable.
“I practice this same profession as the Chairman and the judge is not allowed to explain to the witness what to say.
“Under the Inquisitory system of law, the judge can only ask the witness questions to indict him, but in the adversarial system which Nigeria practices, the judge is not allowed, he has to be independent,”
“We wonder the special interest in the Saraki’s matter. “This tribunal has been sitting for years now, never has it been heard that the Chairman declared that a matter shall sit from 10am to 6pm”
Advocating for fair trial, Ohazuruike said, “This Chairman was recommended for prosecution by the last Attorney General, but the current one has shelved off that recommendation, why? And the same person is now presiding over Saraki’s matter, there is need for fairness in Nigeria’s judicial system.
Uhazuruike further stated, “We are not saying he should not be tried but the judicial institution in Nigeria should be fair in its dealings especially this particular proceedings.”