A Kano High Court on Wednesday fixed December 6 for judgement on whether the Kano State House of Assembly has the power to investigate the alleged $5 million bribery allegation against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
The National coordinator of Lawyers for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria, Muhammad Zubair, filed a suit to determine the constitutional competence of the state lawmakers to investigate the allegation.
When the matter was called for hearing on Wednesday, counsel to the Assembly, Muhammad Waziri, argued that it has the power to investigate any person, including the governor, for the purpose of making laws and checking corruption.
He said even though the governor has immunity, it does not preclude his investigation by the House.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application filed by the plaintiff in view of the fact it was trying to usurp powers given to the House by the Nigerian Constitution.
In his argument, counsel to the plaintiff, Nuraini Jimoh, also said the House has the power to investigate the governor in order to expose corruption, as specifically mentioned by the Constitution.
“What the House is investigating is no doubt a crime against the governor. But by doing so they are exercising their powers to expose corruption,“ he said.
But in his submission, the third defendant, who is also the state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Ibrahim Muktar, said the House has no power to conduct a criminal investigation against the governor.
According to him, the state Assembly has no trained experts or investigators to conduct the investigation, stressing that such assignment should be referred to the police or relevant agencies.
“The House has no capacity to conduct criminal investigation and it will be to the detriment of the person being investigated because they lack the capacity to conduct the investigation,” he said.
After listening to the arguments of both sides, the judge, A. T Badamasi, fixed Thursday, December 6 for judgement on whether the state Assembly has the power to carry out the investigation or not.
On Monday, another state high court had directed Daily Nigerian newspaper to desist from publishing or sharing the alleged $5million bribery video of the governor.
Justice Na Mallam granted the two prayers sought by Mr Ganduje through his counsel, Nuruddeen Ayagi, asking the court to restrain Daily Nigerian newspaper and its publisher, Jaafar Jaafar, from “publishing, sharing or spreading videos injurious to the plaintiff, pending the determination of the substantive application in the next sitting.
Kano State government-owned television, ARTV Kano, reported that the court also granted the second prayer of the plaintiff for an order of substituted service on the defendants, and ordered publications in the Daily Trust Newspapers and the Leadership Newspapers as sufficient service to them.
That publication was made in Wednesday’s print edition of Daily Trust newspaper.
Mr Ganduje had sued the publisher of Daily Nigerian newspaper and demanded N3 billion for alleged defamation over publications of video clips depicting the governor as collecting bribes in hard currency from a contractor.
Mr Ganduje argued that “As a responsible senior citizen, the publications of the defendants have hurt my image, impugned my character and lowered my esteem in the estimation of all reasonable persons.”
The judge adjourned for the hearing of the motion on notice to December 6.