Forgery charges dropped against Saraki, Ekweremadu Others
The Federal Government on Friday dropped the forgery charges it instituted against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and a former Deputy clerk, of National Assembly Ben Efeturi.
They were first arraigned on 20 June 2016 before Justice Yusuf Halilu of Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi Abuja on charges of forgery of the senate standing order used to elect principal officers of the Senate in June last year. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Saraki, Nigeria’s third-ranking official and a high-ranking member of All Progressive Party, had been charged by the Abuja court along with his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, with “forging” the rules during the election process in June 2015.
It will be recalled that Saraki was not APC preferred candidate but ran unopposed for the post of senate president. He had pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges earlier this year.
Saraki still faces charges of falsely declaring his assets when he was a state governor from 2003 to 2011, to which he has also pleaded ‘not guilty’.
“We believe much time has been wasted in pursuing this needless case and we hope that the same treatment will be extended to other politically motivated cases,” Saraki and Ekweremadu said in a joint statement.
It’s a victory for democracy- Senate
Meanwhile, the Senate, in a statement by its spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said the decision to withdraw the case and its subsequent dismissal, as well as the discharge of the defendants, has confirmed its earlier position that the case was an abuse of court process.
The statement reads in part, “We have always said it that that case was politically motivated. The executive cannot decide for the legislature the genuineness or otherwise of its standing rules.
“However, where there is a crack in the wall, it is easy for others to capitalise on the differences between us. Now that Senators have closed their ranks, the executive is only taking the right cue.
“We are happy with this development. We believe it is a sign of good things to come. It is a victory for democracy. A victory for separation of powers, checks and balances and constitutionalism.
“We commend the judiciary for its continuous dedication and commitment to the rule of law in our democracy. We restate our confidence in their ability to adjudicate and dispense justice in all matters in the polity which no doubt greatly contribute to national productivity. Our commendation also goes to the Federal Ministry of Justice for being courageous enough to do the right thing.”