Court dismisses Bulkachuwa’s suit seeking to stop ICPC, DSS from probing him
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa seeking to stop the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) from probing him over the comment he made during the valedictory session of the 9th National Assembly.
Senator Bulkachuwa had said his wife, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, “extended help” to some politicians during her time as President of the Court of Appeal between April 2014 and March 2020. The comment triggered condemnations from Nigerians with calls for his probe.
The lawmaker had asked the court to bar government agencies from probing him but while delivering Judgement on Tuesday, Justice Ekwo, held that the suit lacked merit and ought to be dismissed.
He says that Bulkachuwa, being a lawmaker, ought to understand the implications of the statement that he made on the floor of the Senate.
According to him, the legislative immunity that Bulkachuwa claims in this case does not avail him.
The Judge held that it is only when a law enforcement agency breaches the fundamental rights of a citizen in the process of carrying out their statutory function that a cause of action could be said to have arisen.
Senator Bulkachuwa had earlier sued the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the clerk of the National Assembly, the State Security Service, ICPC, and the Nigeria Police Force.
He had asked the court to declare that he “is covered, privileged, and protected by the parliamentary immunity as enshrined in Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017 and freedom of speech and expression made thereto is privileged”.
The lawmaker also prayed the court to declare that without exhausting the internal disciplinary mechanism, recommendations, and approval of the 9th House of Senate, no other law enforcement agent of the Federal Government, including the defendants can invite any member of the Senate for questioning/interview.
Justice Ekwo said the utterance made by Bulkachuwa on the floor of the Debate on June 10 was not covered by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
According to the Court, the clear words of Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) cannot be interpreted to mean that a person can say anything he likes.