A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello, on Monday warned Zamfara Sen. Isah Misau, against making further media comments concerning the issues for which he is being prosecuted by the federal government.
The senator is facing charges brought against him by the federal government for allegedly spreading malicious stories of corruption and unethical practices against the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and others.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.
Misau stunned the federal government two weeks ago when he made a stirring speech on the floor of the senate accusing President Buhari of not doing anything to move Nigeria forward since his election. He also said there were plans by the executive to remove senate president Bukola Saraki over fears that he may decamp. Misau said the executive is filled with incompetent people and he queried actions of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as well as the Police Inspector General, Abubakar Idris.
His critical comments were widely circulated in the media, and gained further traction when the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, retweeted them.
It is based on his criticism of the Police IG that the federal government’s lead prosecuting counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), requested that the court cautions Misau to be “circumspect” in further making comments on the subject in the media. “If that happens, I will come formally before this court,” Izinyon said.
In response, Misau’s lawyer said his client had not and would not make such comments. He however pointed out to the court that his client is a senator. By law, no civil or criminal proceedings can be brought against any member of a legislative house in respect of words spoken before that house or a committee of the house.
Justice Bello nonetheless urged the defence lawyer to advise his client. “It’s your duty to wisely advise your client as rightly noted by the prosecution. We know what the law says concerning comments as a senator,” the judge said.
After Misau pleaded not guilty to the amended seven counts on Monday, the prosecution informed the court that, to prove the charges against Misau, they had applied for a subpoena to be issued on Channels Television for the production of the video clips where the senator had allegedly made malicious claims against the IGP and others.