Thursday, June 30, 2016

Forgery case: Saraki, Ekweremadu not mentioned by petitioners – Senate Spokesman

Senate Spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi has said that the alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules, which the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his Deputy,Ike Ekweremadu and two others were being prosecuted for at the Federal Capital Territory High Court was an assault on the Senate as an institution.
He said this was more so as the Senate leadership were not even mentioned in the petitions.

In a press release Wednesday night, the Senate Spokesman faulted the view of Secretary to the Government of the Federation that principal officers of the 8th Senate were being prosecuted for forgery.

He insisted that it was an assault on the Senate entirely and never that of Saraki and others.

“We disagree with the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr. David Babachir Lawal on this position and we maintain our earlier stand that it is the Senate that is the target of the present attempt to intimidate the legislature to force a leadership change in the Senate”, Sabi insisted.

Sabi in the statement sought to know if President Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo were being tried, whether such trend did not amount to seeking removal of the duo from office.

He made it clear that neither the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki nor Senator Ike Ekweremadu were mentioned by the petitioners, and in the statements by those interrogated by the police or even the police report.

Sabi posited that it was also wrong for the SGF to liken the issue with what happened in the past.

“Let us refreshen Mr. Lawal’s memory about the facts of the 1999 case. It is obvious that the Senate President and his deputy are not being accused of certificate forgery as it happened in ex-Speaker Salisu Buhari’s case. Therefore, nobody should compare an apple with orange. Also, neitherSaraki nor Ekweremadu is below the age requirement for their present position as it was alleged in the Buhari case. Attempts to make the two situations look similar is to present all Nigerians as having no sense of history”, he noted.

He further asserted that the Executive which was behind the prosecution cannot know which of the Senate Standing Rules was the authentic ones, hence, nobody can be accused of forging his own signature.

“The executive is in no position to determine what is the correct Standing Orders of the Senate. The Senate President and his Deputy, were as at the morning of the June 9, 2015 inauguration of the Senate, mere Senators-elect and could therefore not have been in a position to influence any alteration in the rule book.‎

“The Senate as an institution, and indeed the National Assembly, has spoken about their understanding of the present assault on their independence by the executive.

“We maintain that this trial is a design by the Executive to criminalize the internal affairs of the Senate to create a distraction for the leadership of the Senate, force a leadership change and cow the legislators.

“Those behind this plot find this trial more expedient and important than finding tangible solutions to the multi-various socio-economic problems bedeviling the country.

“However, we are sure they will fail in this attempt. We only hope they will allow the judiciary to truly and creditably perform its duties and give independent verdict on the case.”

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