*Says NBA Lacks Power To Investigate Him On Alleged Abuse of Office
The Attorney-General of Jigawa state and Commissioner of Justice, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, has dragged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), its President, Mr Olumide Akpata and five others before a High Court of Justice in the state.
In the suit dated November 9, 2021, the plaintiff, through his Counsel, Abdurrahman Mukhtar Abdullahi Esq., is praying the court to set aside the report of the fact-finding committee of the NBA and stop the implementation of the report against the plaintiff.
In the report, the NBA fact-finding committee was said to have found the commissioner of justice guilty of abuse of office, after a petition was written against him by two staff of the Jigawa State Ministry of Justice, Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. and Adamu Mukhtar Esq.
The plaintiff averred that the NBA fact-finding committee lacked the legal backing to investigate him or assume the disciplinary powers of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
Other defendants in the suit are John Aikpokpo-Martins Esq., Godwin Omoka, SAN, Ahmed Uwais Esq., Mustapha Imam Esq and Abdulrahman Bello El-Ibrani Esq
The plaintiff in the suit wants the court to determine the following questions:
Whether in the Light of Rules 2 and 4 of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee Rules 2020, the 1st Defendant’s Fact-Finding Committee chaired by the 3rd Defendant and has the 4th-7th Defendants as members, have the same powers as the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee to entertain and determine a Complaint submitted to it against the Claimant to the extent of finding him to have ”conducted himself in a manner unbecoming of a legal practitioner in the course of his undue interference in the affairs of Dutse”.
“Whether the Defendants have power to direct, interfere and meddle with the constitutional functions and powers of the Claimant enshrined under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) in his capacity as the incumbent Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Jigawa State, under the guise of a mandate given to a Fact-Finding Committee set up by the 3rd defendant?
“Whether having regard to Ss. 5, 128, 129, 193 and 194 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the 1st Defendant’s Fact-Finding Committee chaired by the 3rd Defendant assisted by the 4th – 7th Defendants as members thereof is vested with powers to make a resolution(s) directing the Claimant as the Attorney General of Jigawa State to reverse and/or review a decision made within the Ministry of Justice of Jigawa State?
Dr Aliyu maintained that the ”The act complained of and sought to be reviewed/reversed was done by the Claimant in his capacity as a commissioner duly appointed by the Governor of Jigawa State and is subject to the relevant civil service rules applicable to civil servants in the service of Jigawa State;
”Allegation(s) of abuse of office against a public servant can only be entertained and determined by the Code of Conduct Tribunal in line with Paragraphs 9 ,12 and 18(1) to the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended);
”Allegations of suspension and removal from office of an employee can only be entertained by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.”
Other reliefs sought in the suit are: A declaration that the 1st Defendant’s action of directing the Claimant to review/reversed an act done by him in his capacity as a commissioner duly appointed by the Governor of Jigawa State is ultra vires, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever as same contravenes the provisions of the 1999 Constitution particularly S. 254C thereof.
A declaration that the act of the Defendants of investigating a complaint of abuse of office against the Claimant in respect of matters done in exercise of the executive powers conferred on him by virtue of his position as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice is null and void and done in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) particularly Ss. 5, 128, 129, 193 and 194 thereof.
A declaration that the recommendations by the Fact-Finding Committee comprised of the 3rd -7th Defendants directed against the Claimant which reads as follows:
d. That Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq, the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State should be strongly advised to take immediate steps to reinstate Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq. and the other staff of the Jigawa State Ministry of Justice whom he caused to be suspended to their various offices and positions within 2 weeks. The Honourable Attorney General should further be warned in writing desist from interfering in the affairs of NBA Dutse branch forthwith.
e. That should Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq, the Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State fail, neglect and/or refuse to heed the advice and/or warning contained above, the President should ensure that the disciplinary action is taken against him immediately and without further recourse to him.” are illegal, null and void having been made in violation of clear and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended).
A declaration that the CONCLUSION by the 3rd – 7th Defendants in the report of the Fact-Finding Committee to the effect that:
“The Honourable Attorney General of Jigawa State, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, Esq abused the powers of his office…” is null and void and was made in apparent contravention of Paragraphs 9,12 and 18(1) to the 5th Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
An order of this Honourable Court setting aside the entire findings, conclusion and recommendations of the Fact-Finding Committee chaired by the 3rd Defendant and (assisted by the 4th – 7th Defendant as members) as far as they affect and relate to the Claimant for being illegal null and void and are in apparent contravention of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) particularly Ss. 5, 128, 129, 193, 194 and S. 254C thereof and Paragraphs 9,12 and 18 of the Fifth Schedule to the same Constitution.
An Order of this Honourable Court restraining the 1st – 7th Defendants jointly and severally from implementing or taking any step aiming at giving effect to the finding, conclusions and recommendations made in the report of the Fact-Finding Committee chaired by the 3rd Defendant dated 2nd August,2021 as they affect and relate to the Claimant.
In the affidavit in support of the originating summons, deposed to by Dr Aliyu, he said, ”The Facts Finding Committee’s report contains far-reaching findings, conclusions and recommendations against me.
”One of the findings of the Committee against me is that the allegations presented to the Committee by Nuhu Suleiman Tafida esq were found to have been proved.
”The Fact-Finding Committee made a conclusion against me to the effect that I have abused my office (the office of the Attorney General of Jigawa State) and conducted myself in a manner unbecoming of a legal practitioner by harassing and intimidating among others the said Nuhu Suleiman Tafida Esq and Adamu Mukhtar Esq.
”The Committee recommended that I should be strongly advised to take immediate steps to reinstate Nuhu Suleiman Tafida, Esq and the other staff of the Jigawa State Ministry for Justice whom I caused to be suspended to their various offices and positions within 2 weeks.
”The Committee further recommends that should I fail, neglect and/or refuse to heed to the advice/warning referred to above, the 2nd Defendant should ensure that disciplinary action is taken against me immediately and without further recourse to me. A copy of the report of the NBA Fact-Finding Committee on the leadership crisis in Dutse ranch is attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “ B”.
”That all steps and decisions taken against or in favour of any staff of the Ministry of Justice of Jigawa State was made in line with the laid down rules of civil service applicable in Jigawa State.
29. That as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Jigawa State I am answerable to the Executive Governor of the State and can only be investigated by the Jigawa State House of Assembly.
”The Defendants particularly the 1st,2nd and 3rd Defendants are taking serious steps to implement the recommendations contained in the NBA Fact-Finding Committee.”
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