Judge pulls out of Saraki’s corruption trial  

Bukola Saraki

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday hands-off a case filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki challenging his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Mohammed said he decided to hands-off the case following an online publication alleging that he had made unsuccessful efforts to stop Saraki from being tried by the tribunal.

The judge, who denied the allegation, however, ordered that the case file be remitted to the Chief Judge of the court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for re-assigning to another judge.

He said the decision was taken in the interest of justice.

He said: “My attention has been drawn to some publications in the social media against my person with regards to this case.

“In the said publications, it was alleged that I have tried unsuccessfully to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal from trying Senator Olubukola Saraki.

“I have never made restraining order against any of the defendants, in particular the Code of Conduct Tribunal, via a motion ex-parte or any motion at all.”

Mohammed added that the court was conversant with the workings of the tribunal and would not grant ex-parte order to stop any public institution from carrying out its statutory duties.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalled that Saraki had dragged the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Chairman of the CCT to the court, challenging his arraignment before the tribunal.

Justice Mohammed had reportedly granted an ex-parte order summoning the defendants to appear before his court to show cause why Saraki should be prosecuted before the tribunal over the alleged offences of false assets declaration.

It will also be recalled that the Court of Appeal had declined the same ex-parte application granted by the judge and ordered that Saraki should appear before the tribunal

The Senate president had been arraigned before the tribunal on a 13-count charge bordering on false assets declaration.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges before the tribunal.