On Friday last week, Justice Centus Chima Nweze, of the Supreme Court, discharged Senate President Bukola Saraki of the 18-count false asset delaration charges leveled against him by the Federal Government, after a back and forth legal rigmarole involving the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Federal Government and the Appeal Court.
PAUL OKAH speaks to Nigerians on the implications of the judgement.
No case submission verdict The Apex court, while delivering its judgment Per Nwaeze, JSC held that the Court of Appeal’s judgment restoring 3 of the counts based on evidence already ascribed by the Court of Appeal as hearsay evidence, was “equivalent to judicial equivalence of a forensic somersault”.
It must be reiterated that a No Case Submission, when raised by a party/counsel, implies in simple terms that the party or his counsel are of the view that all evidences adduced by the Prosecution have not been able to link the Defendant with the commission of the alleged offence for which he/she is being charged for.
Moreso, the Courts in a plethora of cases, have held that a no case submission may be upheld where: a.
There is no evidence to prove an essential element of the alleged offence b.
The evidence adduced has been so discredited as a result of cross-examination; and c.
The evidence is so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal or court can safely convict on it.
See: AMINU V.
STATE (2004) 2 NWLR (Pt.
909) 108, AITUMA V.
STATE (2007) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1028) 466. In furtherance of same, the Apex Court’s decision in Suberu v.
State (2010) 3 NMLR (Pt.11) at 360-361, where the Supreme Court held that where a no case has been made against an accused person at the end of the case of the Prosecution asking the accused person to answer the charge by calling evidence, would amount to reversal of the Constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of such accused person under Section 36(5) of the Constitution.
See also Okoro v. State (1988) 5 NWLR (Pt. 94) SC 255 at 277. Henry Eni-Otu, legal practitioner.
APC after Saraki The judgement of the Supreme Court last week is a plus to democracy because it seems we have started getting it right in the country.
The travails of Saraki is simply because he’s not in the mainstream of politics in the APC.
In fact, his emergence as Senate President has been causing ripples in the APC because we was not the person that was originally preped for the position.
Therefore, he was haunted and hounded by the APC federal government, because Chuwang Grace Henry he was seen as an opposition.
It was the federal government that instituted a case against him in the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Even though he has never been found guilty of any crime, the federal government have never relented in making sure that Saraki was indicted and removed as the No.3 citizen in Nigeria.
In a nutshell, the judgement of the Supreme Court should be celebrated because it shows that the judiciary is now independent of the executive arm of government and the last hope of the common man.
Adetayo Ridwan, student.
Supreme Court final bus stop Since the Supreme Court has delivered judgement on the case of false asset declaration against Saraki, there is nothing else that can be said about it because the Supreme Court happens to be the highest decision-making body in Nigeria.
The case was even dragged on more than was expected because of the selfish interest of a few.
As you know, the CCT had returned a no-case in its verdict, but the interested parties, especially the federal government, still appealed the judgement of the CCT and were given a lifeline when the Appeal Court could not acquit Mr Saraki on 3 out of 18 chases that were preferred against him.
However, with this recent judgement that was delivered by a justice of the Supreme Court, the case is finally over and we can now concentrate on other things affecting the country.
Akankali Ogechukwu, secretary.
Supreme Court not infallible The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to exculpate the Senate President of Nigeria, Bukola Saraki, of any wrong-doing in respect to all allegations of false asset declaration levelled against him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal brings to a tumultuous end the protracted and excruciating trial of Bukola Saraki since his assumption of office in 2015 as Senate President.
The judgment of the Apex Court of our land may have been received differently, but what cannot be disputed is that the decision of the Supreme Court remains final; hence no appeal shall lie from same.
See the case of Obiuweubi v.
C.B.N (2011) 7 NWLR (Pt.
1247) 465 at 497 para E where the Apex Court stated thus: “The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in Nigeria.
It’s decisions are binding on every court.
By the doctrine of stare decisis, all courts are bound to follow the decision of the Supreme Court.” Though the Supreme Court have itself acknowledged the fact that its judgments are final does not make it infallible, considering the simple fact that they are humans.
This position was established in the locus classicus case of Adegoke Motors Limited v.
Adesanya & Another (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.
109) 250 at 274 wherein it held: “We are not final because we are infallible; rather we are infallible because we are final.” Chuwang Gyang, Ademoyega and Ademoyega chambers Go and sin no more We all know in this country that no public servant, especially a politician, is corruption-free.
You are only a thief when you are caught.
Therefore, I know that money must have changed hands before Saraki would obtain the favourable judgement of this nature.
He should just go and sin no more because his sins have been forgiven by the Supreme Court.
2019 is around the corner and we need people like him in the opposition to give the APC a run for their money.
Philip Ayemoba, businessman.
Saraki good anti-corruption image The decision of the Supreme Court in the Senate President’s case is in all fronts apposite, as it reiterates the long established and trite principle of law that hearsay evidence is inadmissible, hence no judgment can flow from same.
Furthermore, it also re-establishes the principle that, where no evidence has been led by the Prosecution to link the Defendant with the commission of the alleged offence, a no case submission shall be upheld; as doing otherwise would reverse the constitutional provision, with respect to presumption of innocence.
With the decision of the Supreme Court on the allegation of false declaration levelled against Dr.
Bukola Saraki, no such allegation on same facts can be brought against Saraki again: as same would be overtaken by the principle of res judicata/ double jeopardy.
The political capital of Saraki, by this singular decision of the Supreme Court, has been rekindled (if in any case it was dwindling) and consolidated further; as the current mantra of anti-corruption is therefore in sync with him; as he could somewhat boast of being an image and epitome of a man of integrity.
Grace Adamu, legal practitioner.