The Nigerian Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki was this morning docked before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on 11 count charge of false declaration of assets. He entered the dock at exactly 11.24am after heated arguments between the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs SAN, and defence lawyer,Mr J.B Daudu SAN on whether he should enter the dock to take his plea.
While Daudu argued that the Senate President does not have to take a plea because the Tribunal is nota court where administration of criminal justice could be followed. He insisted that the Tribunal lacks the powers to try criminal charges.
Jacob on the hand argued that the business of the day before the court is for Dr Saraki to enter the dock and take his plea. He said that the charges preferred against him are criminal in nature and the proceedings before the Tribunal is also criminal in nature. He therefore insisted that the rule of law must prevail.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar agreed with the prosecutor that the proceedings before the Tribunal is criminal in nature.He therefore ruled that Dr Saraki should enter the dock and take his plea. The accused person complied and the 11 count charge was read to him. He complained that he was seen the charges for the first time. He nebertheless pleaded not guilty.
Fifty of his colleagues at the upper chamber followed him to the Tribunal as a mark of solidarity with their president.