“You confessed illegality, face the music” – Court to Senator Bulkachuwa

Sharon EboesomiSeptember 19, 20233 min

Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled that the June 10 speech of Bulkachuwa on the floor of the Senate was a confession of an illegal act, and Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (As amended) cannot be invoked to cover such.

 

 

 

A Federal High Court Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, a former federal lawmaker, in an effort to restrain the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) from interrogating or arresting him following his remarks during the valedictory session of the Ninth National Assembly.

In a ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo on Tuesday, the suit lacked merit and ought to be dismissed, stressing that Bulkachuwa, being a lawmaker, ought to be aware of the implication of the statement that he made on the floor of the Senate.

“It is the duty of every law-abiding citizen to assist and cooperate with law enforcement agencies in their quest to carry out their statutory function. It is only where a law enforcement agency breaches the fundamental right of a citizen in the process of carrying out their statutory function, then a cause of action could be said to have arisen,” he said.

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Bulkachuwa, in the viral video clip on June 12, claimed that he influenced his wife, who was a former President of the Court of Appeal, to assist his colleagues at the National Assembly, and this led to a call for him to be arrested.

According to Justice Ekwo, Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution does not apply to the statement made by Bulkachuwa on the floor of the Debate on June 10.

”The provision is that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. In a formal setting like that plenary session or committee proceedings of the Senate, It is not expected person who is privileged to voice any expression will utter words or express opinion or impart Ideas or give information that cannot be defended under the constitution.

Upon studying the provision of Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), it is my opinion that the words uttered by the plaintiff on the floor of the Senate on Saturday, 10th June 2023, was a confession of doing an act that is prohibited by law.

 

READ ALSO: 9TH NASS: Why Senate Chief Whip wept bitterly at Valedictory Session

 

When a person confesses that he influenced a judicial officer to help his friends and colleagues, such a person has gone beyond the limit of freedom of speech that is reasonably covered and protected by the provision of Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (As amended).

A person who has used the opportunity given to him by the constitution to express himself freely and uses the opportunity to expose his actions or conduct which the law of the land criminalises has unwittingly invited law enforcement agencies to question him. This is what the plaintiff did in this case.

I, therefore, find that the speech of the plaintiff on the floor of the Senate on June 10 was a confession of an illegal act, and Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (As amended) cannot be invoked to cover such, and I so hold,” he said.

 

 

Sharon Eboesomi

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