Demand by activists and civil society groups for an independent probe, prosecution, and removal of the chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, for assault has intensified.
Umar was on March 29 caught on camera physically assaulting a security guard, Clement Sargwak, at Banex Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja.
Umar, who presides over the trial of public offers accused of breach of code of conduct, was seen in the five-minute viral video clip, slapping and kicking the security guard following an altercation that ensued between them over a parking space on the premises of the plaza.
Sargwak later revealed that he was attacked by the CCT chair after approaching him over his wrong parking on the premises.
On Monday, a phone repairer, Peter Onyiuke, with an outlet on the plaza premises, was detained for over a week on Umar’s instruction and was only released Tuesday.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) condemned Umar’s conduct and vowed to initiate a probe a probe of the assault incident.
Meanwhile, Samson Itodo, a lawyer and executive director of YIAGA Africa, described the tribunal chairperson’s act as an abuse of power.
He also called for the sanction of the security guards attached to the tribunal chair for their involvement in the attack on the security guard.
He (Mr Umar) has desecrated his office and he should therefore resign. As a legal officer and public officer, he is bound to uphold the standard of conduct required of his position. His irresponsible act is an aberration of the rules of professional conduct for a lawyer and he should be sanctioned.
Secondly, he took laws into his hands to assault a helpless young man at his duty post.
It’s an abuse of power. No provocation of any magnitude should warrant the inhumane treatment meted on the security officer. It is clear from Danladi Umar’s conduct that he is bereft of moral and ethical values. He should therefore resign. The police officer who aided him should be sanctioned as well.
This incident is a testament that the state is the greatest adversary of the people. I hope the appropriate authorities rise to hold him to account.
Also, a Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong, demanded that the CCT chair be suspended pending the conclusion of his probe for assault.
I am of the strong view that the chairman of the CCT, Mr Danladi Umar, should be removed from his position, and the police should commence an investigation into the apparent assault he met on the security man.
I do not understand how he can continue to sit to determine those who are accused of violation of the Code of Conduct for Public officers when he has by his actions which was further escalated by the incendiary and scandalous press statement issued on his behalf continue to sit.
He said Umar’s action was itself “a violation of code of conduct for public officers.”
He should face NBA’s disciplinary process and be prosecuted.
Effiong said the CCT chair, not being a judicial officer under the Nigerian Constitution, should be made to face NBA disciplinary process and criminal prosecution.
Beyond that, I believe that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should also commence legal and disciplinary prosecuting and processes actions against Mr Umar.
He is not a judicial officer under the Constitution, so to that extent, he can be sanctioned because his conduct is not compatible with the status as a legal practitioner it has brought his office into disrepute
So I will endorse and welcome prosecutions and proper disciplinary action that would be taken against him.
Similarly, Access to Justice (A2Justice), in a statement signed its Director, Joseph Otteh, demanded the removal of the tribunal chairman.
Unfortunately, the police have failed to arrest and charge Mr Danladi Umar for assault, signaling once again, the deep flaws and dysfunctionalities of Nigeria’s law enforcement institutions.
Presidency (should) immediately remove Mr Danladi Umar from office after disciplinary proceedings.