Supreme Court sets up new panel : No rest yet for Saraki

Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal |
Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal |
A fresh panel has been set up by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, to hear the appeal filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki, at the Supreme Court.
Saraki is challenging the jurisdiction and competence of the charges of false assets declaration proffered against him by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The Justice John Fabiyi-led five-member panel, had on November 12, ordered a stay of proceedings in the Saraki’s trial before the CCT.
Many leading lawyers and Senior Advocates of Nigeria had criticised the ruling of the Supreme Court, stating that it went against the provisions of sections 306 and 369 of the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
According to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the granting of a stay of proceedings in criminal cases, is prohibited.
Punch however, reports that Justice Mohammed may possibly disband the panel and constitute a fresh one, owing to the backlash attracted by the Supreme Court’s ruling as well as the November 25 retirement of Justice Fabiyi.
The report further states that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is expected to head the fresh panel to be constituted due to the sensitive nature of the matter.
A source was quoted to have said: “With the public interest in the case and coupled with the retirement of Justice Fabiyi next week Wednesday, the panel has to be disbanded.
“It is the practice of the Supreme Court that when a number of contentious constitutional issues are raised in an appeal such as this one (Saraki’s case), the CJN is likely to head such appeal panel.”
Furthermore, it is also expected that the number of Justices in the fresh panel will likely increase to seven, as opposed to the five members that were in the last panel.
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