Why pro-Saraki senators should forfeit their pay, by Femi Falana

By Abiodun Fanoro   |   20 November 2015   |   2:47 am  

FalanaHUMAN rights lawyer and anti-corruption crusader, Femi Falana (SAN), has said senators who abandoned their duties in the Senate to accompany the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) were guilty of indolence and absenteeism and should consequently be made to face the appropriate penalties.

Falana also said calls for Dr Saraki to step aside as the Senate President while his trial continues is in order, insisting that that is in consonance with the Public Service Rules.

The senior lawyer said the closure of the Senate to enable pro-Saraki senators attend proceedings at the tribunal and at other courts was illegal and should be utterly condemned by all patriots in the country.

Speaking in Lagos during the investiture of Mr. Dare Oseni as the 2015/2016 President of the International Association of Lions Club, Falana further expressed the fear that the attitude of the Senate, especially those senators accompanying Saraki to the tribunal tended to undermine the anti-corruption campaign of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“In a rare display of impunity the Senate President has caused the Senate to adjourn sittings to allow members to show solidarity with him whenever his case is fixed for hearing at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Apart from questioning the political will of the Buhari Administration to fight corruption and impunity in the country the Senate has continued to assault our collective national morality.”

The anti-corruption crusader was therefore of the view that since the pro-Saraki senators had chosen to abandon their official engagements, they should be made to forfeit their earnings for that period accordingly.

“Since the policy of “no work no pay” is applicable in the federal public service, the senators who abandon their constitutional duties to attend court proceedings are not entitled to be paid or be remunerated for wanton indolence in the circumstance. If the morally despicable behaviour is not halted the distinguished senators may soon resolve to appear in the various courts in the country in solidarity with other members who are facing terrorism and corruption charges. After all, what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander.”

“As the Senate president Dr, Bukola is required to preside over the affairs of the legislative house in the discharge of its constitutional duty of making laws for the country. Attendance of court sittings in solidarity with any criminal suspect is certainly not part of the constitutional responsibilities of the Senate. By insisting on the suspension of Senate sittings to enable him to attend court sittings in the company of fellow senators, the Senate President has violated paragraph 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which states that “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.”

The West African Bar Association (WABA) former president based his position that the Senate president must step aside while his trial at the CCT continues on the provision of the Federal Government Public Service Rules which stipulates that when a public officer is charged to court for criminal offence, the officer shall cease to report for duty pending the conclusion of his case. In addition the concerned officer shall be placed on half pay for the whole period of the trial.

The anti-graft campaigner further said that, the affected officer would be entitled to collecting his or her full entitlements if at the conclusion of the case he or she triumphed.

“Furthermore, contrary to the misleading impression that public officers accused of corruption cannot be asked to step aside and clear their names paragraph 303404 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules (Corrected Version 2008) stipulates that when a public officer is charged to court with a criminal offence he/she shall be interdicted and cease to report for duty until the determination of the case.

“During the period of interdiction the public officer concerned shall be entitled to 50% of his/her entitlements provided that if he/she is discharged or acquitted the officer shall be immediately reinstated and receive his/her full entitlements which have been denied him/her during the period of interdiction.

“Paragraph 030406 of the Rules further provides that where the officer has not been charged to court he/she may be suspended pending investigation into the allegation of malfesance or misconduct against him/her.
He said the Supreme Court had made it very clear that, that such interdiction did not violate the fundamental rights of the affected officer.

“It has been held by the Supreme Court in a number of decided cases that such interdiction or suspension does not violate the fundamental rights of the officers involved. Therefore, it is misleading on the part of lawyers to insist that public officers who cannot explain their sources of wealth are presumed innocent until the contrary is established against them by a court of competent jurisdiction.

He frowned at the continued move by Saraki to halt his trial at the tribunal, stressing that that ran contrary to the new Administration of Criminal Justice operational in the country presently.

He recalled that Saraki was a member of the Seventh Senate which amended the old document to reflect the present provision.

Incidentally, the senator was a member of the 7th session of the National Assembly which enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Section 306 thereof provides that “An application for stay of proceedings in respect of a criminal matter before the court shall not be entertained.” For the avoidance of doubt, section 396 (2) of the Act further provides that “After the plea has been taken, the defendant may raise any objection to the validity of the charge or the information at any time before judgment provided that such objection shall only be considered along with the substantive issues and a ruling thereon made at the time of delivery of judgment.”



  • 2mmmmmm1nnnnnn

    UNDOUBTEDLY, FEMI FALANA [SAN] HAS CONTINUED TO STAND VERY STRONG: A SOLIDLY DETERMINED BARRISTER AND ADVOCATE FOR A LONG TIME: TOWERING ALERT, ALIVE AND ON THE WATCH OF A UNIQUELY NIGERIAN, JURISPRUDENCE.
    THOSE WERE ONCE AGAIN, SOME OF FEMI’S EXCELLENT SUBMISSIONS.

    • ikechukwu onyiuke

      YOU SEE THE FUNNY THING YOU PEOPLE SELECT WHAT YOU WANT AND LEAVE THE REST, WHEN THE APC SENATORS STAGED A WALK OUT DURING THE SESSION THAT WAS PRESIDED BY THE DEPUTY SENATE PRESIDENT, WHEN THEY WERE SUPPOSED PEOPLE LIKE THIS MAN DID NOT SAY ANYTHING BUT NOW HE IS OPENING HIS MOUTH TO TALK, HE AND ALL OF YOU THINK NIGERIANS ARE FOOLS.

      • 2mmmmmm1nnnnnn

        With due respect, Ik, Femi Falana [SAN]’S submissions driven by Falana’s further literary interpretations of law of
        (jurisprudential STATUS QUO of the Nigerian legislations dealing with Nigerian legislators’s [on the clock of])
        conducts
        [at/during work hours])
        appear, GENERIC for all EMPLOYEES of the National Assembly?
        Apparently, THE CONTEMPLATED
        [ REFERENCED “PRO SARAKI SENATORS ” COMPRISES OF BOTH APC AND PDP SENATORS WHICH DOES NOT EXCLUDE APC SENATORS LOGICALLY]
        SENATORS WERE BOTH FROM APC AND PDP; premised on which THE APC SENATORS APPEAR NOT TO BE EXEMPT as you apparently, opined?

      • Olawale Lekan

        Mr. why can’t you reason well? There is a different between walk out which PDP members has done in the past and locked the senate for useless solidarity. When some people walk out those remain can continue with their deliberation but when you locked the senate and sent text messages for solidarity it says much.

        • charlieakpeumoh

          “Mr. why can’t you reason well?” Why should they be a difference between walk-outs …? If the “PDP has done (sth.)” in the past, which you or the party you support perceives to be bad, that doesn’t mean the ruling party, the APC should follow suit! May I ask you the following, for the purpose of clarity: if you caught your brother or some else stealing, should you also do the same bad thing he did or wouldn’t you rather do sth. better – to show a good example? If the APC purportedly wants to “change” Nigeria for the better, then they should know better; and be seen to be doing things better than their prodecessors. QED.
          PS: By the way, stop supporting your party foolishly! Instead of that, correct their bad deeds!! That way, they could be on the path to making progress! “Gbam!”

  • Nwade Chudi

    Is he a politician or barrister ,because he had wanted to be minister. Is his headache Saraki or the supreme Court that grant his prayers. Let him as `anti-corruption crusader challenge the ruling of the supreme Court, than disturbing Nigerians on papers of newspaper.

    • Am surprised at your comment, well you expressed your opinion which is your right, Lawyer Falana has just read what the law says and even the one Saraki himself partake, until we start facing reality in this country nothing concrete will happen. But I can assure you that majority of us support new change that taking place now.

      • effico777

        Don’t mind them ,majority of people today don’t understand what they are talking about,they are mostly educationally illiterate who need reorientation

  • Ikorodua

    I recollect with much pain that this Falana led the lawyers for Tinubu in GANI vs TINUBU. The end justifies the means. Falana does not have the monoply in ‘INTERPRETING’ the constitution..He may fail this time: Falana vs Supreme Court. In USA , it’s another ball game, if Supreme court ruling is unfavourable to a legal wizard; it becomes an academic discussion in classrooms, lectures, etc, well, I forgot that in nigeria Falana can bodly suggest:- the of sanctioning of ‘PRO-SARAKI’ senators which I think, is pure over-excitement and imaginary EMPEROR posturing.The most Falana can justifiably do is to quietly lobby for the removal of the justices that didn’t toe Falana’s legal ‘IDEOLOGY’, hence the constitution as understood by FALANA

  • Mr.SCOTT

    sometimes u need to look at the name of some people that comment, you should know where they are from especially BIAFRAUD who does not wish the country NIGERIA to succeed just for easy secession

    • 2mmmmmm1nnnnnn

      WITH DUE RESPECT AND UNFORTUNATELY MR SCOTT, THE ERRONEOUSNESS OF YOUR SEEMEDLY PREJUDICED IDEATION APPEARS TO HAVE ENTANGLED YOUR REASON PRISONER; EXPOSING YOUR UNFOUNDED FABRICATIONS AS GOOD AS A PROFOUND DISCONNECTION: UNFITTING AND IRRELEVANT INTO THE BRILLIANTLY, ERUDITE ATTORNEY’S SUBMISSIONS?

  • Felix

    Falana is a hypocrite! It’s ok when APC senators abandoned inauguration to do APC personal business. Gani never lived this double lifestyle and he was consistent, never asked for contract or govt position

    • effico777

      It appears that you don’t really understand what you’re saying and you better stop your comment if you are a novice to issues on National morality,Falana is telling the Nation and particularly Senate their unseriousness to know and observed the laws which they have passed and which they are now breaking,what is the collective bargaining of the Senate with the Senate President when the latter is now facing criminal charges?Is the Senate now supporting criminality just because its president was involved? Or has the Senate now a cult whose members cannot be touched or questioned and ,or are they above the law of the land? if it were to be ordinary citizen,he or she would have been languishing in jail by now and what correlation has the matter on ground has to do with APC INAUGURATION ?So Felix,if you don’t understand what is going on,please keep silent and ask others who know better than you.

      • Felix

        efico I think you are the one who is biased and need to understand the difference between the comments of an activist and a card carrying member of APC like Falana who narrowly missed ministerial slot. If Falana thinks the actions of senators following Saraki to court ws wrong which I agree, he should also condemn these senators when they abandon national duty for APC affair on the very first day of meeting.

  • NinjaK

    FALANA,
    where were you when many Senators abandoned the MOST IMPORTANT day of their career in the Senate of Nigeria (i.e. Inauguration Day) to go to some stupeed meeting at International Conference Centre?
    Whatever is good for the goose, must also be good for the gander!

  • shola

    In deed, these miscreants are no lawmakers, they are LAWBREAKERS AND ENEMIES OF JUSTICE IN NIGERIA LEGAL SYSTEM. With their actions they are making the Nigeria legislative a laughing stick all over the world. How for God sake should these so called honourables take the law into their hands, abandon and leave their place of work in support of an accused colleague without permission from the house. The policy of “no work no pay”must be applicable to all these
    half literates. I don’t know what they are looking for in the court because they were in no way invited.
    AND THESE ELEMENTS ARE OUR LEGISLATIVE ARM? Good night- Nigeria!!

  • Eziokwu

    I was thinking this falana will fill the shoe of Gani but alas,he has derailed totally. He is now an embarrassment

  • AA

    “Falana also said calls for Dr Saraki to step aside as the Senate President “. It is getting clearer and clearer that this is Falana’s objective in the matter – to push the APC agenda of removing Saraki by every means. It is shameful, to say the least, for a man people once respected.

    It is very instructive that Falana was silent when the DSS flouted at least 2 court orders in the matter of Dasuki. The so-called champion of the constitution had nothing to say about that. This is what happens when partisanship and prejudice dilute one’s reasoning and professionalism.

  • Dejo Oladimeji

    This sordid affairs in the nation’s senate chamber is brought about by APC and senator Saraki shooting themselves on the foot on the current senate inauguration. What is going on now is Saraki trying to save the senate from reversing into a PDP affairs, because, in his absense, he could be impeached or that Ekerewandu could chair important session that will further give Saraki a black eye.

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