A former senator, Muhammed Bulkachuwa, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) from arresting him or investigating his comment about influencing his wife’s judicial decisions.
According to this report, Bulkachuwa’s suit, with number FHC/ABJ/CS/895/2023, was filed on Friday, July 7, against the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Department of State Services (DSS), the ICPC, and the Nigeria Police Force.
At the valedictory service for the outgoing senators of the 9th National Assembly in June, Bulkachuwa had disclosed that he was influencing his wife, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to give judgments in his favour, or to serve the interest of his friends.
The justice was president of the Court of Appeal between 2014 and 2020 and retired after reaching the mandatory age of 70.
Balkachuwa himself been invited to appear before the ICPC on July 6 for further explanation on his comments.
However, rather than appear before the ICPC, the senator, who represented Bauchi North senatorial district, filed a suit at the Federal High Court to stop the investigation.
Bulkachuwa is seeking the judicial interpretation of Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017.
The Act confers immunity on him from any civil or criminal litigation triggered by any utterance he had made on the floor of the Senate in his capacity as a serving senator
He urged the court to declare that the ICPC’s invitation on the matter was illegal and oppressive.
He pleaded for “A declaration by the court that the applicant is covered and entitled to the constitutional privileges and protection offered as freedom of speech/expression by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Parliamentary Immunity as enshrined in Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017.
“A declaration that the applicant is entitled to freedom of speech/expression by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and as exercise by his other Senators’ colleagues and having not been so afforded by the leadership of the Ninth Senate, cannot be held liable for the unintended inference of an inchoate speech/statement/expression.”
He also demanded an “order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents jointly and severally, particularly the 4th respondent (ICPC), acting directly or indirectly through their agents, officers, privies, assigns, and any other persons by whomsoever or however constituted from inviting, harassing, intimidating and/or compelling the applicant to appear before the respondents pending the hearing and determination of suit.”