An FCT High Court has struck out a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and forgery filed against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, former Clerk of the National Assembly Abubakar Maikasuwa and the current Deputy Clerk of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The trial judge, Justice Yusufu Halilu struck out the charges following an application by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar withdrawing the case.
Mr. Umar told the court that the charges against all four accused persons are withdrawn because the subject matter is before a court of coordinate jurisdiction.
With no objection from the defence counsel, Justice Yusuf struck out the charge and discharged all the accused persons.
Saraki, Ekweremadu Plead Not Guilty
On June 27, 2016, Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.
The two Senate leaders were being arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.
All four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.
In the affidavit filed on June 10, the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), swore that the investigation into the case had been concluded.
It read: “The charges filed through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, by the Federal Government, against the senators reads that you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about, the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law”.
It also accused them of allegedly forging the Order, causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Senator Saraki has maintained that he knows nothing about how the rules adopted in the inauguration of the Eighth Senate on June 9, 2015 were formulated.
He said the on-going efforts to drag him into a case of forgery before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, was just another phase in the orchestrated persecution he has faced since he emerged as Senate President a little over a year ago.
Saraki, in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that he was not a part of the leadership of the 7th Senate that made the rules in question.
He also stated that prior to his unanimous election as Senate President on June 9, 2015, he was merely a Senator-elect like all his colleagues and therefore was not in a position to influence the rules that were to be used in the conduct of the election.