Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa has accused the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Department of State Services (DSS), and others of colluding with his political enemies to harass him.
Bulkachuwa told Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, in a suit filed against the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Clerk of the National Assembly, and others.
In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/895/2023 filed by his lawyer, Donald Ayibiowu, Bulkachuwa, a senator in the 9th National Assembly, also joined the State Security Service (SSS), also known as DSS, the ICPC and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as defendants.
The ex-lawmaker, who is the husband of the immediate-past President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, said the ICPC and other security agencies had continued to harass him since his valedictory comment on the floor of the Senate, which his political enemies continued to misrepresent.
My Political Adversaries Use ICPC And DSS To Intrude.
He cited the June 15 letter of invitation sent to him by the ICPC over his comment on the floor of the Senate, which many had misinterpreted to mean that he had influenced his wife’s handling of some case while she was the President of the Court of Appeal.
But he argued that as a serving senator when he made a comment, he was, by law, immune to arrest or detention over any of his conduct, action or speech on the floor of the Senate.
In a supporting affidavit, he said he was freely expressing himself on the floor of the upper legislative chamber when the then Senate President, Ahmad Lawal, interjected and prevented him from completely expressing his thought.
He said he was neither questioned nor disciplined by the Senate for wrongdoing.
Bulkachuwa stated that he was surprised to receive an invitation from the ICPC, asking him to report for interview on June 22 for interrogation over his comment floor of the Senate.
He argued that by law, only the Senate in session (time of the whole) or any of its sub-committees had the disciplinary power to invite him to answer any questions relating to his conduct or utterances on the upper chamber’s floor.
“The National Assembly is an independent arm of government with its own regulatory power, and every Senator, including the plaintiff, has the parliamentary immunity to boldly express themselves on the floor of the Senate without any fear of sanctions from the executive arm of government, for and on behalf of their constituents.
“Hence, the immunity conferred on members to allow or grant lawmakers the freedom of speech they required and confidence why on the floor of the Senate.”
Bulkachuwa alleged that the defendants, particularly the ICPC, had joined his political opponents “to adopt and propagate the unintended inference from the said inchoate valedictory speech made on the floor of the Senate.
“The defendants, particularly the (ICPC or any other law enforcement agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria do not have the powers to invite/discipline me (as serving member of the Senate at the time of my utterance in reference) questioning/interview on any matter that occurred on the floor of the house of Senate without the prior approval of the Senate Committee saddled with the investigation the actions of a member.”
He argued that “no civil or criminal proceedings can lie against a serving member of the Senate on account of the speech/utterances made on the floor of the Senate unless and until the Senate exhausts its disciplinary powers over such a member.”
He said that because he was a politician, the defendants jointly and severally might have decided to discipline his political foes to question and sentence him for his statement on the floor of the Senate.
He, therefore, prayed the court to, among others, declare that he was covered and protected by Parliamentary Immunity as enshrined in Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act of 2017
Bulkachuwa also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and other agencies of the Federal Government from further inviting and or compelling him “to appear before them for interviews or questioning in respect of his inchoate utterances on the floor of the 9th Senate.”
Upon resumed hearing on Thursday, Bulkachuwa’s lawyer, Donald Ayibiowu, urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought.
In a counter affidavit, the Clerk of the National Assembly argued that Bulkconcerningd immunity from any form of proceedings in respect of words spoken or written at the plenary session.
Lawyer to the AGF, Oyin Koleoso, faulted the plaintiff’s argument, contending that he no longer had any immunity from arrest and prosecution because he had ceased to be a senator.
Koleoso urged the court to dismiss the suit.
O. A. Aderounmu, who app for the DSS, and ICPC’s lawyer, U. M. Narimir, also urged the court to dismiss the case.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Oct. 25 for judgment.
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