Christmas: Saraki Commends Nigerians For ‘Resilience In Face Of Challenges’

Bukola Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki in his Christmas message on Tuesday felicitated with Christians and all Nigerians as they celebrate the Christmas and New Year festivities.

He also congratulated Nigerians for what he described as their resilience in the face of the challenges facing the nation and urged them to pray for improvement in the social, political and economic condition of the country, in the New Year.

Saraki disclosed this in a statement signed on Tuesday by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja.

He urged Nigerians to make it part of their New Year resolution that they will play their constitutional roles to ensure that the country has a peaceful, credible, free and transparent elections in February and March 2019 and that the results of the elections will lead to rapid socio-political and economic development of Nigeria.

“I wish all Nigerians a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I want to call on Christians, in particular, and Nigerians, in general, to emulate the virtues of Christ, who through self-sacrifice brought salvation to humanity.

“This is a time for us to be our brother’s keeper, extend our generosity to one another and ensure that the less-privileged among us are not left out of the ensuing merriments,” he said.

READ ALSO: Embrace Virtues Of Christ, Ekweremadu Tells Nigerians

He added that the upcoming election is another opportunity to lay a new foundation for the growth and prosperity of the nation and to banish poverty from the land.

He prayed for journey mercies for as many Nigerians that would have to travel during the period and urged the police and other security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities and ensure that the lives and property of Nigerians are fully secured at all times.

“The security agencies must of necessity redouble their efforts to ensure that the Christmas and New Year celebrations are observed peacefully across the country,” Saraki said.

2019: Saraki Condemns Use Of Security Agents To ‘Disenfranchise Voters’

Senate President Bukola Saraki has condemned the use of security agents and military at polling booths during elections.

According to him, these security agents collude with politicians to disenfranchise voters.

The Senate President said this on Monday during the public hearing organised by the National Assembly on improving electoral processes in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: We Need To Break The Chain Of Vote Buying First In Primaries – INEC Boss

“It is all too clear that security agents are beginning to emerge as major clogs in the election process. Reports of collusion with political actors to disenfranchise voters is very worrying indeed.

“We cannot under any circumstances militarise elections, because that defeats the purpose of free, fair and credible polls.

“In an election, access to the polling units for the purpose of casting one’s vote is the bare minimum. Once a voter is denied the opportunity to vote through bullying, intimidation and other forms of harassment, then vote rigging and electoral malpractice have free reign,” he said.

Saraki noted that it is also important for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that those that collect the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) are actually the registered individuals. According to him, PVCs are as important as ballot papers during elections.

On the issue of vote buying, Saraki said this remains a major challenge which needs to be dealt with.

He said, “vote buying and election rigging by whatever means, remains one of the contemporary challenges that mar our electoral process. We must deal with them in such a manner that does not detract from the credibility and legitimacy of the coming 2019 Polls.”

He also emphasised the need for INEC to look into reducing the failure of card readers during elections. This, he said will help to close any potential loopholes that can be exploited.

Saraki Questions Death Of Offa Robbery Suspect, Demands Investigation

Senate President Bukola Saraki has questioned the death of Michael Adikwu, the principal suspect in the deadly bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State, demanding an investigation.

Saraki in a statement signed on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into how and when the principal suspect died in police custody.

“Following eventual disclosure by the Police that Michael Adikwu, the principal suspect in the deadly bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State, on April 5, 2018, is dead, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Presidency to institute a judicial inquiry into the ‘how and when’ the suspect died.”

The Senate President added that the new disclosure by the police has vindicated his earlier claim that the suspect had been murdered in police custody and that the investigation was politically motivated to implicate him, Governor Abdul-Fatai Ahmed and a few others.

READ ALSO: Offa Bank Robbery: Police Confirm Death Of Principal Suspect, Adikwu

“It should be recalled that when we mentioned it that the principal suspect had been murdered and that investigation into the Offa robbery attack was politically motivated and targeted at implicating me and other individuals, the Police Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh said: ‘Michael Adikwu is in Police custody.

“You know that he is the one that led the killing of 22 people. The firearms that were carted away, he is helping the police in the investigation to recover them. There is a state in the South-west where they kept him. I can’t mention the state. It is in one of the South-west states’.

“The fresh facts have now thrown more light into why there had been inconsistencies in the various statements by the police. The Police initially told the Attorney-General of Kwara State that the principal suspect was alive and they only later reluctantly disclosed that he died in the course of the arrest.

“How can a suspect confirmed to be in custody now be said to have died in the course of arrest? This contradiction shows a deliberate attempt to cover up something,” he said.

Saraki added that an inquiry into the death would help to thoroughly examine and interrogate how the investigation into the robbery incident was conducted by the police and whether the investigation followed the normal process and complied with global best practices.

I’m Not Losing Sleep Over Impeachment Plots – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki during his visit to Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

 

Senate President Bukola Saraki has debunked claims that the Senate is yet to reconvene due to fear of impeachment by Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Saraki told journalists after a closed-door meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, on Saturday, that he is not losing sleep over impeachment plot. He added that those calling for his impeachment are only engaging in cheap blackmail.

“I am not losing any sleep about impeachment. We have a country that a lot of Nigerians believe there must be rule of law, those who are talking about impeachment are engaging in cheap blackmail and I am not concerned about that,” he said.

Saraki also revealed further reasons why he dumped the ruling APC for the opposition, PDP. He claimed that projects Nigerians expect of the present administration were never realised.

“I have made a four-page statement on why I left the All Progressives Congress (APC) and I made it very clear that the ideas and visions of what we expected, was not realised in the areas of democracy, justice.

“Those that followed the political terrain of the last three years can see that the people are not happy. It is not about myself but about Nigerians and about the kind of country we want to build. The kind of democracy we want to be practised and the kind of leadership we need.

“We have not been able to achieve any of this under the APC as much as we have tried,” he said.

Saraki was accompanied on the visit to Delta by some Senators, including, Senators Dino Melaye and Peter Nwaoboshi.

Kwara APC Asks Saraki To Resign As Senate President

Saraki Convenes Emergency Meeting Of National Assembly Leadership
(File) Senate President Bukola Saraki speaks during a plenary at the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

The Kwara Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on the Senate President Bukola Saraki to emulate Senator Godswill Akpabio and resign his position.

The group in a statement by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party in the state, Bashir Bolarinwa, said Saraki should relinquish the office of the Senate President, claiming it is exclusively reserved for the party with majority members in the chamber.

“The path of honour was led by distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio who, before defecting to (the) ruling party, had honorably resigned as the leader of the minority party in the Senate.

“So, Saraki should act honourably and resign from that office of trust. He should for once toe the path of honour and stop heating up the polity unduly.”

The group, however, declared the support of APC members in Kwara for President Muhammadu Buhari.

They stressed that any politician holding elective office should do it in trust for the electorate and must be accountable to the people.

The call by the Kwara APC group follows that of the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole who, on Friday, called for the impeachment of Saraki.

Oshiomhole told journalists in Abuja that it was expected that Saraki would leave his position after defecting. He urged APC senators to explore legal means for the Senate President’s impeachment.

Saraki in reaction to Oshiomhole’s said it is nothing but wishful thinking adding that the APC will continue to dream about their plan to impeach him as they need 73 senators to lawfully remove him.

Saraki Visits Ibrahim Babangida In Minna

Senate President Bukola Saraki has paid a visit to the former military head, Ibrahim Babangida, in Minna, Niger State capital.

They are currently in a closed-door meeting at the residence of Babangida.

Journalists were however not allowed entry to the residence as security operatives mounted barriers at the gate entrance.

Security operatives at the residence of Ibrahim Babangida on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

 

Saraki had earlier landed at Minna Airport at 3:58 p.m and headed straight to Babangida’s residence.

At the end of the meeting which lasted for over one hour, the Senate President drove back to the airport but refused to brief journalists concerning details of the meeting with the former Head of state.

According to him, it was a ‘private meeting.’

Saraki was accompanied on the visit by Senator Shaba Lafiagi and Baba-Hakeem Ahmed among other aides.

NASS Barricade: Attempt To Impeach Saraki, Make Akpabio Senate Leader, Says Murray-Bruce

Lawmakers denied entry into the National Assembly.

 

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has alleged that the heavy presence of security operatives at the National Assembly complex, on Tuesday, is to intimidate lawmakers and enable the impeachment of Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker representing Bayelsa East in an interview on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, claimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers are planning to appoint Senator Godswill Akpabio as the Senate President.

“The front gate has been blocked by DSS and police. The plan is to allow APC senators entry. Senators who will install Akpabio as the Senate President and impeach Saraki and Ekweremadu,” Murray-Bruce said.

He, however, noted that the plot by the APC lawmakers will not stand, adding that the PDP has majority members. He said the PDP lawmakers would resist any attempt by the APC senators to effect any leadership change in the Senate.

Murray-Bruce said they would make sure that countries like the US, Canada, The United Kingdom, among others revoke the visas of Senator Akpabio and his cohorts as well as their wives and children.

“It can’t stand. They do not have the numbers. I have been in touch with Britain, Canada, and requested from the management that the visa of Akpabio and all the other senators involved in this be revoked.

“So that their request to go to London, Washington, Paris, Berlin will be revoked.”

Masked security operatives at the National Assembly.

He further lamented about the heavy presence of security operatives at the National Assembly claiming that they were sponsored by APC senators.

“What they are doing is illegal. What they are doing is against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This makes no sense,” he said.

Murray-Bruce then said lawmakers breaking the law will be exposed so that the world will know what they are doing.

Saraki, Ortom, Tambuwal, Ahmed Meet With PDP Leaders

 

Senate President Bukola Saraki and some governors met with the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, and other leaders of the party on Wednesday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The governors include Abdufatah Ahmed of Kwara State; Nysome Wike of Rivers State; Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.

The meeting, which took place in Saraki’s residence in Ilorin, was held after the dignitaries attended a prayer session organised for the late mother of Abubakar Kawu Baraje.

A former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; Senator Lawal Shuaibu; Senator Barnabas Gemade and other prominent political figures were also in attendance at the meeting.

Earlier reports had indicated that Ahmed, Tambuwal and Ortom were plotting to pull out of the APC.

On Monday, Ortom announced his defection from the APC noting that he had been given a “red card” in the ruling party and is currently exploring a new option to actualise his future ambition.

Although some of the leaders explained that the gathering was for a religious purpose, Rivers State Governor Wike after the closed-door meeting with Saraki said, that there is nothing wrong for political friends to come together and discuss.

“As top officials, we have come here to rally round him (Baraje) at this moment that he lost his lovely mother. We came here only for that purpose.

“And even if you say the meeting is for politics of course when you see your colleagues, you need to chat and compare notes from what you have been doing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Ahmed says he is yet to take a decision on his political future with the APC.

A statement signed on Wednesday by his Senior Special Adviser on Media, Muyideen Akorede explained that his presence today in Ilorin, alongside that of the Senate President, Saraki, PDP Chairman, Secondus, Governors Ortom, Tambuwal, Wike, and other prominent political figures was for the burial rites of the late mother of the politician, Alhaji Kawu Baraje.

He said the meeting was not for the purpose of a political realignment and he is yet to be briefed on any planned defection.

Senate President Saraki, Governors Ahmed, Ortom, Wike and others during the fidau prayers.

Buhari Meets Senators Over IGP-Senate Faceoff

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in a closed-door meeting with some Senators at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Senators are members of the nine-member committee set up to meet President Buhari on issues surrounding the feud between Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The Senate President last week raised an alarm over an alleged plot by the IGP to implicate him and Kwara state Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed.

Saraki claimed that Governor Ahmed informed him that a group of suspects who had been in police cells for several weeks for cultism and whose investigation had been concluded with the prosecution about to commence under the state law were ordered to be transferred to Abuja.

Saraki alleged that this is a plot to implicate him and the Kwara State governor.

The Senate’s President’s allegations come days after the IGP failed for the third time to appear before the Senate after he was summoned.

The Senate committee is chaired by Saraki with members which include Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan; Chief Whip Olusola Adeyeye; Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio; Danjuma Goje; Sam Anyanwu; Aliyu Wammako; Fatima Raji-Rasaki; and Oluremi Tinubu.

Details Later…

PDP Expresses Worry Over Alleged Plots Against Saraki

Police Reply Senate Again, Fault Lawmakers’ Motive For Inviting IGP
A photo collage of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and IGP Ibrahim Idris.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said on Wednesday that it is deeply concerned over reports by Senate President Bukola Saraki of alleged plots to implicate him and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed.

Senate President raised an alarm on Wednesday over an alleged plot by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to implicate him and Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed.

PDP in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan said this is alarming and described the situation as an assault on the National Assembly.

“The PDP, as a party, has taken judicious note of assertions by the Senate President that the said plot is allegedly being hatched by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Idris Ibrahim, “to settle scores” with the Senate over its recent declaration that he is not fit to hold public office.

“The PDP is alarmed by the trend of brazen assaults on the institutions of democracy, particularly the National Assembly and the judiciary,” the statement read in part.

According to PDP, it had earlier alerted of plots to arrest, harass, detain dissenting voices and opposition members on trumped-up charges, as well as intimidate institutions of democracy.

The party also cited the invasion of the Senate chambers by thugs, and hoodlums violent attack of a High Court in Rivers state as bids to stop the judiciary from excising their duties

The PDP, therefore, charges the National Assembly to defend the nation’s democracy by sparing no energy in pursuing its resolution of engaging President Muhammadu Buhari on these assaults and alleged plot in order to curtail all excesses in government before the situation finally gets out of hand.

Senate Invasion: Saraki Visits Injured NASS Official

Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Senator Isah Misau during a visit to the injured NASS official on Sunday, April 21.

 

Senate President Bukola Saraki on Sunday visited a female National Assembly Official, Sergeant-At-Arms Sandra Davou, who was injured during the invasion of the Senate Chambers.

The Red Chambers was invaded on Wednesday, April 18th, by some hoodlums who made away with the legislative symbol of authority. The mace was later retrieved by the police under a flyover in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Davou was injured during the invasion as she and her colleagues struggled to stop thugs from invading the Senate chamber.

She is presently recuperating in her house after she was treated and discharged from the hospital. Saraki during his visit to the injured official described her as very hardworking and committed.

READ ALSO: Adamawa Community Calls For An End To Herdsmen Attacks

“Sandra, a lady who is very hardworking and committed was beaten mercilessly and was discharged. We felt that people like that who have scarified and put their life on a stake beyond the call of duty for our democracy.

“What really defines democracy is parliament. The moment parliament does not exists, democracy does not exist.

“What shes done is what we all owe gratitude, that is why we have come here to thank her and appreciate what she did,” Saraki said during the visit.

READ ALSO: Emir Of Kano Unhappy Over Osinbajo’s Absence At Washington Investment Meeting

Senator Saraki who was accompanied on the visit by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu commended Davou and her colleagues for putting up a fight to prevent the invaders from gaining access to the Senate Chambers.

He said the incident of the invasion of the National Assembly by thugs who stole the mace is a disgrace to the country and called for unity and firmness to eliminate all such undemocratic tendencies.

Appeal Court Orders Retrial Of Saraki On Three Counts

The Court of Appeal has ordered the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to conduct a retrial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki on three out of 18-count amended charge on false declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government.

The appellate court in the appeal filed by the Federal Government against the decision of the code of conduct tribunal that the Senate President has no case to answer knocked out 15 of the 18 count charges as incompetent.

Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson in her judgment on Tuesday held that there was no evidence to substantiate the 15 counts as valid charges.

READ ALSO: CCT Trial: Court Reserves Verdict On FG’s Appeal Against Saraki’s Acquittal

The Judge, however, held that on counts 4, 5 and 6 bothering on the purchase of house 17 A and B at Mc Donald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos by the Senate President the prosecution was able to establish a prima facie case against the Senate president.

Specifically, the appellate court held that the prosecution established that there were false claims in the set declaration forms as to how the two houses in Ikoyi were acquired.

The court held that the Senate President needs to provide an explanation to the discrepancies established by the prosecution that the properties he claimed were bought from sales of rice and sugar in his asset declaration form were bought from loans acquired from a commercial bank.

“The court concluded that credible evidence was led by the prosecution on counts 4, 5, 6 to warrant the defendant to be called upon to defend himself on how he acquired the properties disclosed in the three counts.

“And it is hereby ordered that counts 4, 5 and 6 be remitted to the code of conduct tribunal. The Appeal is dismissed in part in respects of counts 1,2,3,7,8,10,11,12,13,14,16,18,” Justice Akomolafe-Wilson said.

However, she said that the prosecution established a case against the Senate President in counts 4, 5, 6.

The case is returned to the Code of Conduct Tribunal in respect of the three counts.

A three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court, led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson in Abuja had earlier in November adjourned its judgment to December 12, on an appeal filed by the Federal Government challenging the dismissal of the 18-count criminal charges it preferred against the Senate President, Saraki, before the CCT.