A former Senator representing Bauchi North Senatorial District, Muhammed Bulkachuwa, has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to bar the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission from investigating and arresting him over the comments he made during the valedictory session of the ninth Senate.
Bulkachuwa had publicly stated during the session that he influenced his wife, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa’s decisions while she was serving as the President of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Bulkachuwa was the President of the Court of Appeal between 2014 and 2020 and retired from the court after reaching the mandatory age of 70.
The Attorney General of the Federation, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Department of State Services, the ICPC, and the Nigeria Police Force are respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/895/2023.
Bulkachuwa is seeking the judicial interpretation of Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017, which confers immunity on him from any civil or criminal litigation in respect of any utterance he makes on the floor of the Senate in his capacity as a serving Senator.
He also asked the court to declare that the ICPC’s invitation on the matter was illegal and oppressive.
“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.
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,” the relief sought partly read.