Legal practitioners have called on the Code of Conduct Bureau to investigate President Muhammadu Buhari at the expiration of his tenure for possible violation of the code of conduct of public officials.
The human rights lawyers, Inibehe Effiong and Tope Akinyode, said this in separate interviews with SaharaReporters.
Effiong and Akinyode were reacting to the Supreme Court's criticism of President Buhari for using a lawyer from the Ministry of Justice for personal litigation.
Justice Mary Odili, while reading the judgment in a perjury case filed against the president had said it was inappropriate for Abdullahi Abubakar, a lawyer with the Ministry of Justice, to have represented Buhari in the case in which he was sued in his personal capacity.
Akinyode said: “Ministry of Justice lawyers are state lawyers, who are paid by taxpayers’ money. There are grave and unhealthy implications in having the President prosecute his personal cases using state Lawyers. That act simply put, constitutes some sort of manipulation or inducement by the President for personal gains and aggrandizements.
“The unfortunate action of the president in using those lawyers for personal gains means that there is little hope we can have in seeking justice in this administration. Allies and associates of the president who are enmeshed in corrupt practices are in safe hands if they are going to be prosecuted by those same Lawyers which may mean that the ministry of justice is running the extension of Aso Rock upon the bidding of the president.
“Ultimately, because the president has breached the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Article 15 of that Code states that he is liable for prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. This can be done after the expiration of his tenure in office.”
Similarly, Effiong said the apex court's criticism was an indictment on Buhari's integrity, stating that it had opened the ground for the CCB to commence investigations against the president.
He said: “What the president has done is immoral. It is in contravention of the code of conduct and it is sufficient for the code of conduct bureau to commence an investigation to see whether that action is sufficient for a case to be filed against the president at the code of conduct tribunal, possibly after the expiration of his tenure.
“This is important because of the judicial proclamation of misconduct. What has happened is that the supreme court has indicted the president for violation of the code of conduct. I do not think we should just sweep it aside. When you have the highest court of the land, indicting the president in this manner, it is a great matter, a matter of fundamental importance. I strongly believe that the code of conduct should be able to examine the conduct of the president in this instance and see whether a prima facie case of violation of the code of conduct can be established in preparation for the possible trial of the president upon expiration of his tenure.”
In the meantime, the lawyer asked that the president be mandated to pay legal fees to the coffers of the government for using state services.