Court Dismisses Suit by Senator Bulkachuwa, Former Appeal Court President’s Husband, Against ICPC and DSS.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa. The suit sought to prevent the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) from investigating him over comments he made during the valedictory session of the 9th National Assembly (NASS).
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo, who presided over the case, ruled that the suit lacked merit and was thus dismissed. The judge emphasized that as a lawmaker, Senator Bulkachuwa should understand the consequences of the statement he made on the Senate floor.
The judge clarified that the legislative immunity claimed by the plaintiff does not apply in this case. He stated that it is the duty of every law-abiding citizen to assist and cooperate with law enforcement agencies in carrying out their statutory functions.
Justice Ekwo further explained that a cause of action could only arise if a law enforcement agency violates a citizen’s fundamental rights during the execution of its duties. In this instance, such a violation did not occur.
Senator Bulkachuwa had filed the suit against several defendants, including the Attorney-General of the Federation, the NASS clerk, the State Security Service, ICPC, and the Nigeria Police Force. He sought to establish that he was covered by parliamentary immunity and that no law enforcement agency could question a member of the Senate without exhausting internal disciplinary mechanisms and Senate approval.
However, Justice Ekwo determined that Bulkachuwa’s statement on June 10, which led to the investigation, was not protected by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution. This section guarantees freedom of expression but does not permit individuals to make statements that cannot be defended under the constitution.
The judge noted that Senator Bulkachuwa’s statement amounted to a confession of an illegal act, and as such, Section 39(1) could not be invoked to protect it. The case stemmed from a viral video in which Senator Bulkachuwa mentioned his wife, who was the President of the Court of Appeal, and her assistance to his colleagues while he was a serving senator.
In a viral video clip on June 12, 2023, Senator Bukachuwa said his wife, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab, assisted his colleagues at the National Assembly as a serving judge.
He had said, “I look at faces in this chamber who have come to me and sought for my help when my wife was the President of the Court of Appeal.
“And I must thank particularly my wife, whose freedom and independence I encroached upon while she was in office, and she has been very tolerant and accepted my encroachment and extended her help to my colleagues.
“I did my best and in most cases I succeeded,” Senator Bulkachuwa had said, while the then Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, interjected and quickly stopped him from going further in the public confession of some shady deals.
The court’s decision marks a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the senator’s statement and raises questions about the limits of parliamentary immunity when it comes to statements made by lawmakers.