A Federal High Court on Wednesday in Abuja struck out an application filed by the former Kwara governor, Sen. Bukola Saraki, seeking to bar the police from investigating an alleged N20 billion fraud.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Gladys Olotu held that the police undermined the jurisdiction of the court by extracting a statement from the applicant, now a Senator, when the matter was still pending in the court.
She said that the action of the police had practically rendered the application lifeless, adding that ``the action was sub-judice and against the rule of law’’.
``From what I can deduce from the submission of the parties, the Federal High Court, Lagos, which granted the application of the police was not properly guided.
``The police had no right to approach another court with such application; government agencies, especially the police, must work within the ambit of the rule of law.
``The objective of the rule of law is mainly to balance the powers of government and its agencies against the vulnerable citizens.
``In the light of this, the prayers of the applicant (Saraki) to set aside the warrant of arrest obtained by the defendant (police) and the order declaring the applicant wanted is hereby granted.
``The declaration of the applicant wanted and his subsequent arrest have rendered the application nugatory so the application is struck out,’’ the judge said.
At the resume hearing of the application, Mr Rafiu Rabana (SAN), counsel to Saraki, informed the court that the police had gone ahead to arrest and extract a statement from his client while the matter was pending.
Rabana stated that his client was first declared wanted through a public statement, adding that the action was strange in law.
He explained that pursuant to the steps of the police, Saraki voluntarily submitted himself to the police in Abuja.
``The action of the police has rendered the process nugatory and has also undermined the jurisdiction of this court while it took away the subject matter.
``We have considered this not to be in the best interest of justice and the tenets of the rule of law.
``When parties have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of a court as done in this case, it behooves on them to stay any actions pending the determination of the case.
``I humbly want to withdraw the application on notice because the police resorted to self help by pushing our prayers aside,’’ he said.
Mr Femi Falana, counsel to the police, did not object to the oral application made to withdraw the main application on notice.
He, however, said that the action of the police was predicated upon a court order it received.
Falana added that the police were compelled to approach the court when it became apparent that Saraki was planning to leave the country.
Speaking with newsmen after the proceeding, Falana said that the stage was now clear for the prosecution of the applicant.
``Already, the police have taken his statement and that of his wife preparatory to the drafting of the charge,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Saraki is accused of collaborating with some officials of the Kwara State Government to obtain a loan of N20 billion from one new generation bank while serving as governor of the state.