Saraki Finally Appears At CCT, Court Adjourns For Final Hearing

Following a statement issued by the media office of the Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Monday, September 21, where the country’s number three citizen announced his decision to attend his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal today (September 22),  234Forum reports that the Senate president has kept his word by showing up this morning.

234Forum gathered that the Senate president was sighted entering the CCT this morning with some lawmakers and ex-governors like Dr. Sam Egwu of Ebonyi state, Theodore Orji of Abia state, who is now a senator. It is also reported that journalists were barred from covering the trial, and that there is heavy security presence and screening currently ongoing at the CCT.

Officials of the anti-bomb unit of the Nigerian police force are also on ground.

The legal team of the Senate president remain the same and are still led by Joseph Daudu, ( SAN) a former president of the NBA. The CCT chairman, Justice Danladi Umar just arrived and proceeding has commenced, but no recording allowed as some overzealous security men are seizing phones and recording devices. 

Permission has now been granted for recording to start but not from the people on the bench.

The counsel to Federal Government, Rotimi Jacobs in his opening speech said this is the first time in his years of practice that a case will be heard by three courts at the same time ( day). Counsel to Saraki, Joseph Daudu does not want the Senate president to take his plea. But, counsel to the federal government is praying the court that the accused (Saraki) should go to the accused box, and in a reaction to the prosecutor’s prayer, Saraki’s counsel corrected the judge that Saraki should not be referred to as the accused instead he should be called the defendant.

The Senate president while taking his plea as the trial commenced, pleaded not guilty to the 13 count charge levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau. Saraki explained that he came on his own volition to show he is a law abiding citizen, adding that he is just hearing the charges for the first time.

In response, the judge vacated the bench warrant on Saraki, a decision the counsel to the federal government, Jacobs  countered, saying he served the Senate president since last week.
Saraki’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), had earlier tried to stop the Senate President from taking his pleas in the dock.

After Saraki pleaded not guilty to the charges, the tribunal granted him bail on self-recognition.

Meanwhile, there was a mild drama between security operatives drafted to guard the Presidential villa gate and the convoy of the Senate president as early as 6.am this morning. The security operatives told the country’s number three citizen and his entourage to turn back and enter through the main gate from the Federal Secretariat, insisting that they are acting on “an order from above.”

Recall that the CCT ordered the arrest of Saraki yesterday for failing to appear at the tribunal court proceedings to stand trial for a 13-count charge of corruption levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau following his asset declaration.