Anger in Senate as House members back embattled Saraki, Ekweremadu
There is anger among members of Nigeria’s Senate over what they perceive as the meddlesomeness of the Executive Arm of government over the plan to put its head and deputy on trial for alleged forgery.
Undeterred in its bid to try both helmsmen, a court has caused its summons for Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu to be pasted on the Notice Board of the Senate, following the inability of court officials to serve both men.
But the Upper House is fighting back.
It has invited the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to appear on Thursday to answer questions on the planned trial of both men for forging the Senate Standing Rules.
A motion brought by Senator Dino Melaye, which received the backing of members, has mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Legal Matters and Human Rights to within two days summon the Attorney General of the Federation to explain and justify with evidence the basis for his action and why it does not constitute gross misconduct, incompetence, contempt of court and abuse of office.
*That the Senate Rule 2015 is not forged and it is the authentic rule of the Senate.”
Ekweremadu, sitting as presiding officer yesterday said:”Thank you very distinguished colleagues. I am going to put the question, I don’t intend to say much because I’m involved. I just want to add that those who use their public office today to persecute others must realise that no condition is permanent.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have thrown their weight behind the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu as they begin the battle to defend themselves against forgery charges preferred against them by the Federal Government.
Minority Leader of the House Hon. Leo Ogor, leading the PDP Caucus in the House Tuesday asked for evidence that both men tinkered with the Senate Rules as being alleged.
Briefing journalists, he stated the Caucus’ position: “The PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives has noted with total sense of embarrassment the lawsuit reportedly filed against the Deputy President of the Senate and the highest political office holder of the PDP extraction, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki; and two others in connection with the alleged forgery of the 2011 Senate Standing Orders….
“Democracy thrives on mutual respect and cooperation among the three arms of government. Therefore, the executive arm of government has no business whatsoever meddling in the internal affairs of the legislature. Each of the House’s of the National Assembly since 1999 has always had its own rule produced by the management of the National Assembly, hence Senate Standing Orders 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 in the instance of the Senate….
“It is equally instructive that Senator Ekweremadu and the Senate President were not accused or mentioned by the Senators who petitioned the police; Senators and bureaucrats who made statement during the investigation; and even the police in its report.
“We therefore challenge the Attorney General of the Federation to tell Nigerians how it came about the names of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Senator Bukola Saraki in the lawsuit or how a legal practitioner of his ranking preferred criminal charges against presiding officers of the National Assembly without according them fair hearing.”