A Kano High Court presided over by Justice A.T. Badamasi on Thursday in Kano granted an Order of Injunction restraining Kano State House of Assembly Investigative Committee from further investigating the $5m bribery allegations involving Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
It should be recalled that the court had earlier ordered the state House of Assembly to maintain the status quo ante pending the determination of the originating summons filed by the National Coordinator of Lawyers for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria, Barrister Mohammed Zubair, which ruled in favour of the plaintiff.
On behalf of himself and the Lawyers for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria, Zubair sued Kano State House of Assembly, Chairman of the Investigative Committee on the bribery allegation against Ganduje (Baffa Babba Danagundi) and the state Attorney-General, challenging the constitutionality of the House investigating the bribery allegation, which is a criminal case.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Barrister Nuraini Jimoh, in the last sitting before the judgment, argued that Kano State House of Assembly lacked the powers to probe the criminal allegations against Ganduje.
The state House of Assembly, according to him, only has the powers to make laws, establishing an anti-graft agency which, by law, can investigate such matter.
In his submission, the state Attorney-General, Ibrahim Muktar, who is also the Third Defendant in the litigation, aligned himself with the position of the counsel to the plaintiff.
”By virtue of my office, my own is to follow the law. I have perused the application, I stand with the plaintiff and I adopt all the processes by the plaintiff, including his argument.”
Also, the Attorney-General urged the court to disregard the counter affidavit filed by the First and Second defendants, arguing that, “It is not safe for the court to rely on the entire affidavit,” because the identity of the witness was not disclosed.
While citing Section 115 of the Evidence Act (2011), he insisted that the affidavit lacked credibility.
Counsel to the defendants, Barrister Mohammed Waziri, in his argument, told the court that the Kano State House of Assembly Investigative Panel engaged in a fact-finding mission, and not the investigation of criminal allegation.
While delivering judgment on Thursday, Justice Badamasi ruled in favour of the plaintiff, stating that the power of investigation by the state House of Assembly, as contained in Section 128 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “is neither absolute, nor at large. It is restricted by sub-section two of the same Section,”
At the close of the day, counsels to both the plaintiff and the defendants not only congratulated the judge for his “deep sense of judgment,” but also agreed to abide by the verdict.