Three days after the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr Danladi Umar, apparently assaulted a security guard at a mall in Abuja, the dust raised after the incident is yet to settle as some senior advocates and civil society organisations have called for sanction.
According to them, a petition should be forwarded to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for appropriate action. Some senior advocates who spoke to LEADERSHIP said public office holders should be able to conduct themselves in a decent manner.
They said anyone occupying positions of authority should not use it to oppress the less privileged.
A professor of law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Awa Kalu, said the action of the CCT chairman was unbecoming of a judge.
According to him, anybody assaulted by people in position of authority can make a report to the police, who are expected to take it up.
He said in the case of the CCT chairman, a petition should be forwarded to the NJC or the police, or even both.
Prof. Kalu said, ”It is unbecoming of a judge to be assaulting members of the public. The option left to the security guard is to write a petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC about his conduct. No one should be above the law.”
Another senior advocate, Chief Mike Ahamba, said the assaulted security guard should write a petition to the NJC and the office of the AGF and that if they fail to act on the petition, an action should be filed by his employer.
Chief Ahamba said, ”He should write a petition to the NJC and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) about the conduct of the CCT chairman and if they fail to listen to him, he should file an action against him in court.”
Another senior advocate, Malam Abdul Balogun, said the police should investigate the case and take appropriate action.
According to him, no one should be above the law in a country where the rule of law reigns supreme.
Professor Ernest Maduabuchi Ojukwu (SAN) described the action of CCT chairman as despicable. The senior lawyer also called for the investigation and prosecution of the judicial officer and others involved in the incident if they are indicted.
He said, “So far my comment relates only to the video and response of the chairman of CCT that has been circulating on social media. “If what we have seen is true, then it is despicable. Apart from his position in society, there is this tendency of some well placed Nigerians to publicly humiliate citizens under the protection of police bodyguards.”
Kunle Adegoke (SAN) agreed with the professor of law, describing the incident shameful, condemnable and punishable.
He said, “If what we saw circulating on the social media is truly the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal inflicting assault on another citizen, it is shameful to say the least.”
The head of governance and development, Yiaga Africa, Ibrahim Faruk, said public office holders should conduct themselves in a manner that represents the office they are holding.
Faruk noted that public office holders should be seen conducting themselves professionally.
“They should adhere to the rule of law and not behave like streets fighters,” he said.
Also, the director of Centre for Democracy Development (CDD) Idayat Hassan, described the incident as sad.
”It is sad to see a public office holder behave in that manner. What played out at the mall is an assault and there are no two ways about it. I expect the police to do their job, make arrest and do investigation.”
The convener of Good Governance Initiative in Africa, Jubril Momodu, said those in position of authority have taken ordinary Nigerians for granted for too long. He said, ”With this incident, it is an opportunity for Nigerians to stand up for their rights. If I may say, this should be a test case to show that nobody is above the law.”