Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Alleged Forgery: I am ready to go to jail – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said he was ready to lose his freedom to entrench democracy and stabilise governance in the country.
This is contained in a statement signed by him and issued on Monday in Abuja.
Saraki was reacting to the trial of the leadership of the Senate, which began on Monday, over alleged forgery of the 2015 Senate Standing Orders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Federal High Court in Abuja granted bail to Mr. Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and two others over the alleged forgery.
He said the trial was an onslaught on the legislature, adding that it posed a great danger to the democracy Nigerians fought hard to win and preserve.

“The suit suggests that perhaps, some forces in the Federal Republic have not fully embraced the fact that the Senate’s rules and procedures govern how the legislative body adjudicates and resolves its own disputes.
“Let it be clear, as a citizen and as a foremost legislator, I will continue to rise above all the persecution and distraction that have been visited on me.
“In the words of Martin Luther King Junior, `the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at a time of challenge and controversy’.
“I will remain true and committed to the responsibilities that my citizenship and my office impose on me.


“Without doubt, the highest of those responsibilities is the steadfast refusal to surrender to the subversion of our democracy and the desecration of the Senate.
“This is a cross I am prepared to carry,’’ he said.
“If yielding (unyielding) to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent on undermining our democracy and destabilising the Federal Government to satisfy their selfish interests is alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open.
“I shall be a happy guest,’’ Mr. Saraki added.
He said that the charges against him and the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, were violation of the principle of separation of powers.
“It is farcical to allege that a criminal act occurred during Senate procedural actions and the mere suggestion demonstrates a desperate overreach by the office of the Attorney General.
“These trumped up charges are only another phase in the relentless persecution of the leadership of the Senate.
“This misguided action by the Attorney General begs the question, how does this promote the public interest and benefit the nation?


“At a time when the whole of government should be working together to meet Nigeria’s many challenges, we are once again distracted by the Executive branch’s inability to move beyond a leadership election among senate peers.
“It was not an election of senate peers and executive branch participants,’’ he said.
Mr. Saraki said the senate had worked to foster good relations with the executive branch in the past years, adding that it was in their collective interest to put aside divisions and move on with the nation’s business.
He stressed that the leadership risked losing support of the people, who had entrusted it with the responsibility of seeking new and creative ways to promoting a secured and prosperous Nigeria.
According to him, it is time to rise above partisanship and to move forward together.

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