Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
In its report of the 21st day of July, 2015, the Punch newspaper reported how deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu is suspected to have made false declarations in his application to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, asking for transfer of a case from Justice Adeniyi Ademola to another judge. This was in response to a suit filed by five All Progressive Congress (APC) senators challenging the leadership elections of the 8th Senate, in which Senator Ekweremadu is a respondent.
The five plaintiffs through the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015 are seeking the removal of both Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively on the ground that the elections which produced them on June 9, 2015 when the 8th Senate was proclaimed were conducted using forged version of the Senate Standing Orders. Four days after Justice Ademola heard the parties to the suit and reserved judgment in the case on December 14, 2015, Ekweremadu initiated moves to stop the court from delivering its verdict by leveling allegation of bias against the judge in the aforementioned application.
The report further stated that in the said application dated 17th December, 2015 and filed 18th December, 2015, the deputy Senate President alleged that Justice Ademola was bias in the handling of this case, due to his alleged closeness to a national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu. He also alleged further in the petition that the judge’s wife was recently appointed Head of Service in Lagos State due to his relationship with Tinubu.
By virtue of Section 25 of the ICPC Act, it is an offence for anyone to make statements which is false or intended to mislead to a public officer. It provides as follows:
(25)- (1) Any person who makes or cause any other person to make to an officer of the commission or to any other public officer, in the course of the exercise by such Public officer of the duties of his office, any statement which to the knowledge of the person making the statement, or causing the statement to be made-
(a) is false, or intended to mislead or is not true in any material particular; or
(b) is not consistent with any other statement previously made by such person to any other person having authority or power under any law to receive, or require to be made such other statement notwithstanding that the person making the statement is not under any legal or other obligation to tell the truth, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand Naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
From the foregoing, a burden of proof is on Senator Ekweremadu to proof his allegations, as contained in the petition in question, with impeccable and verifiable evidence. Though, we have every reasons to believe the allegations are false, misleading and attempt to subvert justice through protracted litigation, we still demand your thorough investigation and appropriate action on this matter. It can be deduced that the Deputy Senate President’s declaration in the said application which were not supported by any evidence, according to the newspaper report, were merely calculated to mislead the Honourable court and bar it from exercising its constitutional functions.
You will agree with us that if truly the allegations made by Ekweremadu in the said application were true, he ought to have substantiated his claims with incontrovertible evidence which he has failed to do. As a legal practitioner himself, Ekweremadu is not unaware of remedies available to him, through appeal to appellate court, where he is dissatisfied with the ruling of a judge, such as in this matter. Initiating a petition of this nature, at a time when judgement is reserved by the trial judge, is nothing short of professional misconduct deserving of every penalties under the law. The descent of an occupant of 6th highest position in the country to such reckless and ignominy is reprehensible.
In the light of the above, CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding that the commission investigates Senator Ike Ekweremadu petition and the allegations contained in it for appropriate action under the Act. Where he fails in this responsibility, appropriate sanctions should be meted out to him to serve as a deterrent to others and to uphold the judge’s integrity.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.