A frontline association of Anti-Corruption Lawyers in Nigeria under the auspices of Lawyers Network Against Corruption (LAWNAC) have demanded immediate suspension of the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar for assaulting a security guard at Banex Plaza at Wuse 2, Abuja.
This followed the release of a video showing Mr. Umar and a member of his entourage assaulting a Security Guard. LAWNAC said Umar’s action amounts to gross misconduct and must be addressed to safetygurde the image of the judiciary.
In a statement issued by Henry Okolo, Esq, on the 29th March 2020, LAWNAC said “Judges are expected to be the epitome of civility and moral turpitude. The constitutional Oath of Judicial Conduct mandates Judges to be patient, respectful and courteous to everyone in and outside the courtroom.”
LAWNAC “Nigeria should learn from the case of Judge Joe Brown. In 2015, a Florida State Judge, Joe Brown, was promptly fired by the Florida State Supreme Court for brawling in Court.”
“Occupants of the Bench must avoid all acts that erode respect for the courts, and confidence in the rule of law and public trust in the judiciary.”
“The actions of a Judicial Officer who undermines the Constitution amounts to gross misconduct and must be taken very seriously. We call on the Nigeria Police Force to immediately commence investigation and for Hon. Danladi Umar to step aside pending the conclusion of the investigation. If Mr. Umar fails to step aside, he should be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.”
“Article 15 (2) of Part 1 of the 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended, which is in pari materia with Section 20 (3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act provides that the Chairman of the CCT shall be a person who is qualified to hold office as a Judge of a superior court of record in Nigeria. In the same vein, Article 17(3) of the same Part 1 of the 5th Schedule which is reproduced verbatim in Section 22 (3) of the CCB Act also provides for the removal of the CCT Chairman for infirmity of the Body or Mind or Gross Misconduct.”
LAWNAC said “assault of any Nigerian by a judicial officer is an assault on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a violation of the Right to Human Dignity guaranteed by the Constitution and a gross violation of the last paragraph of the Judicial Oath by which the Chairman swore to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. The time has come for the Nigerian Judiciary to purge itself of contaminants in the interest of preserving the Rule of Law and what is left of the Judicial system.”
Okolo noted that LAWNAC has enough evidence to file a petition against Mr. Umar before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.