Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the recent Supreme Court ruling, ordering the suspension of the trial of Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s Senate president, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
In a statement Sunday, Mr. Falana said the ruling should not be allowed to stand because of its “far-reaching implications and negative impact” on the administration of criminal justice in the country.
“Since the ruling is binding on all other courts in line with the hallowed principle of stare decisis, the Supreme Court should take advantage of the substantive appeal in the Saraki’s case to review its position with a view to confirming the abolition of stay of proceedings by section 306 of the AJCA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act),” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“This clarification should be made, as soon as possible, in line with the letter and spirit of the AJCA. Otherwise, every accused person will continue to file interlocutory appeals and proceed to ask for stay of proceedings pending the determination of such appeals.
“The application will have to be granted as the hands of either the trial court or the Court of Appeal would have been tied by the erroneous decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Saraki v FRN.”
Mr. Saraki is facing a 13-count charge of corruption and false assets declaration at the tribunal.
He pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
The Supreme Court, last week, said the corruption case “should tarry a while”, pending the conclusion of an appeal brought before it.
Mr. Falana advised the apex court to distance itself from the antics of the influential agents of impunity in the legal profession, who have resolved to frustrate the trial of corruption cases by filing “cumbrous motions and frivolous preliminary objections designed to shield members of the ruling class from prosecution”.
“Our judges should realise that the inglorious era of engaging in dilatory tactics in criminal trials by defence counsel has been consigned to the dustbin of history,” he said.