Senate Reacts To Withdrawal Of Alleged Rule-Forgery Case
Reacting to the withdrawal of the forgery charges, the Senate further stated that the withdrawal was a confirmation of its position that the nation could not afford any sharp division between the various arms of government.
In a statement by its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, the Senate said the decision to withdraw the case and its subsequent dismissal had confirmed its earlier statement that the case was indeed an abuse of court process having been dismissed earlier by the court.
He further stated that the Upper Chamber had always believed that the case was politically motivated and that the executive could not decide for the legislature the genuineness or otherwise of its standing rules.
While commending the judiciary for its continuous dedication and commitment to the rule of law, the Senate called on the executive to go the whole hog and withdraw other cases with political coloration.
The Senate Spokesman stated that with the country facing economic recession, it was a period for the political leadership to present a united front.
A High Court in Abuja had earlier struck out the two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and forgery filed against Senator Saraki, Senator 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 Umar told the court that the charges against all four accused persons are withdrawn because the subject matter is before a court of coordinate jurisdiction.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.
Pleaded Not Guilty
On June 27, 2016, Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu had on June 27 pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.
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.