A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, aimed at preventing the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) from investigating him over comments he made during the valedictory session of the 9th National Assembly.
Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that the suit lacked merit and should be dismissed. He emphasized that Senator Bulkachuwa, being a lawmaker, should have understood the implications of his statements on the Senate floor.
The judge stated that legislative immunity, which Bulkachuwa claimed, did not apply in this case. He emphasized that it is the duty of every law-abiding citizen to assist and cooperate with law enforcement agencies in carrying out their statutory functions. However, a cause of action can only arise if a law enforcement agency breaches a citizen’s fundamental rights during the discharge of its duties.
Bulkachuwa had sued several parties, including the Attorney-General of the Federation, the NASS clerk, the State Security Service, ICPC, and the Nigeria Police Force. He sought the court’s declaration that he was covered, privileged, and protected by parliamentary immunity and that no law enforcement agency could invite any member of the Senate for questioning without exhausting the internal disciplinary mechanisms.
Justice Ekwo noted that Senator Bulkachuwa’s utterances on the Senate floor were not covered by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which grants freedom of expression. He explained that while this provision guarantees freedom of expression, it does not grant individuals the right to say anything they like, especially when it involves confessing to illegal acts.
In this case, the senator’s statements were seen as a confession to influencing a judicial officer, which is prohibited by law. Consequently, the court ruled that Section 39(1) of the Constitution could not be invoked to protect such statements.
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