Do You Know The Process Of Removing The Code Of Conduct Tribunal Chairman From Office?

Since Danladi Umar, chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), was caught on camera beating a security man at a popular plaza in Abuja, many Nigerians have been calling for his head. From social media to the streets, there are a series of calls for his immediate removal and prosecution for the conduct. But how easy can that be?


First, there has been a prolonged controversy over whether the CCT members and the chairman are under the National Judicial Council (NJC) or strictly civil servants under the control of the presidency.

Although they are sometimes referred to as judicial officers, the National Judicial Council (NJC) which is empowered by the 1999 constitution to recommend membership of the CCT does not have any power to discipline them.

Under the fifth schedule of the constitution which deals with code of conduct for public officers, section 15(3) states: “The Chairman and members of the Code of Conduct Tribunal shall be appointed by the President in accordance with the recommendation of the National Judicial Council” — and that is where the NJC powers over the CCT ends.

WHO CAN DISCIPLINE ERRING CCT MEMBERS?

For disciplinary purposes, section 17(3) of the constitution states that the CCT chairman or members can only be removed for misconduct or for violating any code of conduct by two-thirds of both chambers of the national assembly. 

The section reads: “A person holding the office of Chairman or member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal shall not be removed from his office or appointment (appointed) by the President except upon an address supported by two-thirds majority of each House of the National Assembly praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office in question (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body) or for misconduct or for contravention of this Code.”

This means that at least 240 of the 360 members of the house of representatives and 72 senators have to vote for Umar to be removed as CCT chairman, making it the only government appointment where the house is needed in the removal process.

WHAT CAN WARRANT THE REMOVAL OF THE CCT CHAIRMAN?

Many believe the case of assault against Umar is enough reason to kick him out of office.

But what does the constitution say?

First, the interpretation of the code under section 19 defines “misconduct” to mean “breach of the Oath of Allegiance or oath of office of a member or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts to bribery or corruption or false declaration of assets and liabilities.”

Also, part of the conditions for the CCT chairman’s removal includes “contravention of this code”, which covers section 9 that deals with abuse of office.

According to that provision, “a public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of any other person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy.”

In respect to that, section 15 (5) under chapter two of the constitution also provides thus: “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”

It then could be argued that, given the aforementioned, Umar may have set himself up for a possible removal.

With the members of the national assembly being the only persons empowered by the constitution to discipline the CCT chairman, all eyes are now on the federal lawmakers on whether they will act on available evidence, await court action, or turn a blind eye on the case.

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