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Saraki’s lawyer writes Punch “You lied and treading dangerously on the boundaries of contempt”
Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki

Saraki’s lawyer writes Punch “You lied and treading dangerously on the boundaries of contempt”


Story By Leke Adeosun


Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, the Lead Counsel for Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has reacted swiftly to a story by Punch where the paper alleged that the Chief Justice was set to change the Supreme Court panel hearing the appeal brought before it by the Senate President due to the public outcry over its pronouncement that the CCT trial should cease until the appeal matter is decided.

Mr Daudu in his letter made available to www.thelightnews.com dated Thursday April 19, 2015 addressed to The Editor, Punch with the title RE: PUBLICATION IN THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER- SARAKI’S CASE: CJN TO SET UP FRESH SUPREME COURT PANEL REJOINDER, noted that indeed, it was his team, as part of its brief of argument that asked for seven judges to hear the appeal, and therefore if any decision is to be taken to adjust the composition of the Justices, it was at the instance of the Saraki Legal Team, contrary to Punch’s report which it claimed it got from “Judicial sources”

He accused Punch of cheap blackmail, lying and propagating a narrow political interest and lambasted the t paper for having the temerity to refer to a decision of the Supreme Court as being an “illegality.

The full letter reads:

My attention has just been drawn to the Front Page Caption in your newspaper of wide circulation i. e The Punch News Paper captioned “SARAKI’S CASE: CJN to set up Fresh Supreme Court Panel”.


Reading further, your correspondents Tunde Odesola and Ade Adesomoju were quoted as saying that “The Chief Justice of Nigeria is set (sic) to set up a fresh panel that will hear the appeal filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki challenging the jurisdiction and competence of the charges by the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged false asset declaration preferred against;……. Our correspondent learnt on Wednesday that the CJN was set to disband the Justice John Fabiyi led five-member panel which on November 12, 2015 granted an order of a stay of proceedings in the Senate President’s trial before the CCT…… The decision to disband the panel, according to Judiciary Sources, is partly due to the outcry generated by the Supreme Court’s ruling and the imminent retirement from the bench on November 25………”

It is rather unfortunate that a newspaper of such reputation as the PUNCH Newspaper will condescend to the level of cheap blackmail, propagation of narrow political interest in a matter that is of utmost significance to the Administration of Justice in Nigeria.

It is not correct that the panel that correctly granted a stay of proceedings is being disbanded because of the purported outcry against the ruling of the Supreme Court. Indeed, his lordship the Hon. Mr. Justice Fabiyi JSC who presided, drew the attention of my learned brother silk Mr. Rotimi Jacob SAN when he was urging the Court to state the specific date to which the appeal will be adjourned, to the inability of the Panel as constituted to give a date because there was already a request in the brief of argument that a Constitutional Panel be constituted made up of Seven (7) Justices to hear the appeal. The said paragraph 2of our Appellant’s brief of argument is hereby reproduced for ease of reference thus:


  1. “Respectfully my lords, it is against this majority decision that the Appellant has appealed through a 7-ground notice of appeal located at page 1268-1278 of the printed record. The issues raised by those grounds are matters of serious constitutional significance which may require the Supreme Court to be constituted in the way and manner prescribed by Section 234 of the Constitution which prescribes thus: ‘For the purpose of exercising any jurisdiction conferred upon it by this Constitution or any Law, the Supreme Court shall be duly constituted if it consists of not less than five Justices of the Supreme Court: Provided that where the Supreme Court is sitting to consider an appeal brought under 233(2)(b) or (c) of this Constitution, or to exercise its original jurisdiction in accordance with section 232 of this Constitution, the Court shall be constituted by seven Justices.”

Consequently, the request for a constitutional panel was made by the undersigned in our brief or argument. Normally and most lawyers should know this; when a request for a panel of 7 Justices is made in a paragraph in the brief of argument, it is only the Chief Justice of Nigeria (who is presently out of the country) that can constitute such a panel. It is therefore most mischievous, to use the platform of your widely read national daily to peddle such misinformation of grave proportions. Alluding to “Judiciary Sources” as you have done is an acknowledged Journalistic sharp practice and subterfuge to cloth your misinformation and blackmail with a veneer of credibility.

Furthermore, your write-up in issue quoted some disenchanted lawyers who have gone on to describe the decision of the Supreme Court staying proceedings of the CCT as an “illegality”. That is most unfortunate as decency and elementary regard for the finality of the decisions of the Supreme Court should restrain every citizen of this country particularly a legal practitioner from using such base and scurrilous language against the highest court of the land. It is a known legal axiom that a decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria cannot be illegal in any form or manner as it is binding on all persons and authorities in this country. If a person is aggrieved bythe decision of the Court, the only approach is to wait for an opportunity to arise and such a person can ask the Court to overrule itself or depart from its earlier decision. No amount of political inclination or rascality should prompt or compel a lawyer or even a layman to employ such uncouth language against the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

I am instructed to add that these comments and similar write-ups are treading dangerously on boundaries of Contempt of the Supreme Court. It is obvious that this orchestrated backlash against a correct decision of the Court is aimed at intimidating the Court and may the day never come when such a hallowed Court will succumb to mob action or intimidation.

If this type of action or nonsense persists, I will be compelled to bring Contempt proceedings against all those commentators who by their actions seek to prejudice the final outcome of the appeal through intimidation or skewed reportage of facts.

A word is enough for the wise.

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