A coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has urged the National Judicial Council, NJC, to sanction the counsel to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, stating that they misled the lawmaker in his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Bureau Tribunal.
In a statement issued by the organisation, which comprises of over 150 civil society groups, through its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraj, CSNAC said Mr. Saraki’s lead lawyers, Joseph Daodu and Mahmud Magaji, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, erred by advising their client to defy the summons of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT
The CCT had summoned Mr. Saraki to answer a 13-count charge of fraudulent acquisition and declaration while in office as the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
The statement said the accused person did not appear at the Tribunal scheduled to commence on Friday, September18, 2015 because the senior advocates were looking for an ex-parte order to prevent the Tribunal from sitting.
“Instead of advising his client to honour the summons, Mr. Magaji SAN headed for the Federal High Court where he unsuccessfully sought an order ex parte to restrain the Tribunal from hearing the criminal case.
“On his part, although Mr. Daudu SAN had undertaken to produce his client on Monday, September 21, 2015 he rushed to the Court of Appeal where he unsuccessfully sought an ex parte order to prevent the Tribunal from sitting. On that same day the Federal High Court refused to stop the Tribunal from sitting. Once again, the accused person did not appear at the Tribunal.”
While establishing that the misleading advice from the lawyers was responsible for Mr. Saraki’s absence from the tribunal, the group said, “In defending his action for treating the Code of Conduct with contempt in the circumstance, the Senate President disclosed to Nigerians that he did not appear at the Tribunal on the advice of his lawyers.”
Pegging their call for sanction on the misleading advice, the coalition said, “Having betrayed their Oath as senior advocates by advising their client to treat the Code of Conduct Tribunal with disdain, they ought to be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to other lawyers in the country.
“We are therefore compelled to request the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee to sanction the senior advocates who have been indicted by the senate president. “Having led their client to defy the summons of the Code of Conduct Tribunal we urge the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee to sanction Messrs. Daudu and Magaji as their conduct is a total betrayal of the Oath taken by them as legal practitioners.
“The discipline of the two senior advocates of Nigeria will serve as a deterrent to other legal practitioners who are in the habit of advising their clients to treat court orders with disdain,” the group said.