Forgery of Senate rule: Offer your explanation in court- AGF tells Saraki, Ekweremadu, others

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Attorney General of the Federation and Minister
of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has asked the
Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy
Ike Ekweremadu, to offer explanations on their
alleged involvement in the forgery of the senate
standing order last year, in court. Malami said
this in a statement released on his behalf by his
media aide, Salihu Isah, today Jun 23rd.
Saraki, Ekweremadu and two others are expected
to be arraigned in court on Monday June 27th
on criminal charges of forgery of the senate
standing rule in June last year. Read Malami’s
statement below…
“The attention of the attorney-general of the
federation has been drawn to a press statement
by the senate, signed by Senator Aliyu Sabi
Abdullahi, chairman, senate committee on media
and affairs, on June 19,” Malami’s statement
read. The statement entitled: ‘Forgery Case, An
Unconstitutional Violation of Principles of
Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances’,
was published in some national dailies and
social media platforms. It is quite unfortunate
that the senate construed move of the federal
government as a coup against the legislature
with a view to cause a leadership change in the
national assembly. It is worthy to note here that
the action of the Attorney General of the
Federation can stand the test of any law since
he did not act on a vacuum. He acted based on
a recommendation by the Inspector General of
Police (IGP) who having fully satisfied
investigative procedure arising from the petition
sent to the Nigerian Police by some aggrieved
members of the Red Chambers of the National
Assembly alleging that the affected officers
altered the rules of the Senate for Dr. Bukola
Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu to emerge leaders of
the Eighth Senate of the National
Assembly. Under the 1999 Constitution, only the
Attorney General of the Federation has the
powers to institute criminal proceedings. For the
benefit of doubt, as stated above, there was a
petition bordering on allegations of forgery
against the defendants, the petition was
investigated by the police and the police
recommended the case for prosecution. At this
point, the question is how initiation of criminal
proceedings against Dr Bukola Saraki, Ike
Ekweremadu, Salisu Maikasuwa and Bernard
Efeturi violated the principle of separation of
powers as contained in the Constitution? The
action of the Attorney General of the Federation
cannot obviously be said to be a coup against
the National Assembly as the Senate has
claimed. By preferring the charge, the accused
persons are entitled to fair hearing under the
law while the prosecution is obligated to prove
its case against them beyond reasonable
doubts. Therefore, the Attorney General of the
Federation has not violated any known law in
the land. Or is the Senate suggesting that its
principal officers, members and staff of the
National Assembly are above the law or enjoys
same immunity as do the nation’s President and
Governors? It is common knowledge over the
years since the nation embraced democratic
system of governance and backed by the current
Constitution those elected officers of government
who are exempted from legal encumbrances
whether it is civil or criminal are known to all. It
is pertinent to be reminded too, that forgery of
the Senate Standing Rules cannot be described
as the internal business of the National
Assembly that is exclusively only in its purview.
The Attorney General of the Federation cannot
therefore be faulted for his decision to initiate
legal actions against the accused for alleged
forgery after a thorough police investigation of
the issue whether there was an amendment of
the Senate Standing Rules in 2015 or not. The
case of Adesanya vs Senate which has been
seriously touted in its press statement does not
support them and they should rather take their
plea and defend the action accordingly. We
assure Nigerians that the Attorney General of the
Federation will continue to be committed to the
rule of law at all times. On this particular forgery
case, we believe he should rather be
commended for his foresight and political will to
carry out his constitutional role to the letter and
not to be vilified under any guise.”

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