Senate Accuses Nigerian Govt Of Plot To Send Saraki, Ekweremadu To Prison

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Senate Accuses Nigerian Govt Of Plot To Send Saraki, Ekweremadu To Prison

The Nigerian Senate has on Sunday

accused the President Muhammadu

Buhari led government of plotting to

remove the principal officers of the

Upper Legislative Chamber of the

National Assembly, and then imprison

them at Kuje.

“(This) is a return to the era of

impunity and lack of respect for due

process which we all fought to

abolish,” the Senate said in a

statement signed by its spokesperson,

Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

The Senate also described the forgery

case against its President, Bukola Saraki

and Vice, Ike Ekweremadu as a violation

of principles of separation of powers

and abuse of checks and balances.

A nine-paragraphed response to the

case, through Senator Abdullahi, the

chairman, Senate Committee on Media

and Public Affairs, made available to

Senate Reporters read:

“After reading in the national

newspapers and online platforms of

the planned charges of forgery and

conspiracy preferred against the

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; his

deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu;

immediate past Clerk of the National

Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa and

the Clerk of the Senate, Mr Ben Efeturi

and reviewing the circumstances

leading to the filing of these charges,

we are compelled to alert the good

people of Nigeria and the

international community that our

democracy is in danger.

“An attempt by the Executive Arm of

the Federal Government to muzzle the

legislature and criminalise legislative

processes, in order to cause

leadership change in the National

Assembly is a return to the era of

impunity and lack of respect for due

process which we all fought to

abolish.

“We urge President Muhammadu

Buhari to, please, call his Attorney-

General and Minister of Justice, Mr

Abubakar Malami, to order. The

Senate of the Federal Republic voted

freely to elect its leadership into

office and continuing attempts to

change that leadership through the

wanton abuse of judicial processes

cannot stand in the eyes of the world.

It is clear that the Attorney-General

and party leaders behind this action

either lack the understanding of the

underlining principles of

constitutional democracy, the

concept of Separation of Powers,

checks and balances and

parliamentary convention or they just

simply do not care if the present

democracy in the country survives or

collapses, in their blinded

determination to get at Saraki and

Ekweremadu by all means necessary,

including abuse of office and sacking

the Constitution of the Federal

Republic of Nigeria.

“The Nigerian people have enough

economic hardship at this time

requiring the full attention and

cooperation of the three arms of

government, instead of these

attempts to distract and politicise

governance. We are in a state of

economic emergency, such that what

the National Assembly needs at this

time are executive bills and proposals

aimed at resolving the crises of

unemployment, currency

depreciation, inflation, crime and

insecurity. What the National

Assembly needs now are executive

bills to build and strengthen

institutions to earn revenues, fight

corruption and eliminate waste.

Instead, we are getting hostile

actions aimed at destabilising the

National Assembly, distracting

Senators from their oversight

functions and ensuring good and

accountable governance.

“We must make it clear here to the

individuals in the Executive arm and

party leadership behind these plots

not to mistake the maturity and hand

of co-operation being extended to

the Presidency by the legislature as a

sign of weakness.

“This latest plot is directed at

forcing a change of leadership in the

Senate or, in the extreme case,

ground the Red Chamber of the

National Assembly. Or how does one

interpret a move in which the two

presiding officers are being set up to

be remanded in Kuje Prison or

incapacitated from sitting at plenary

through a day-to-day trial on a

matter that is purely an internal affair

of the Senate.

“This obviously is a dangerous case

of violation of the independence of

the legislature, undue and

unnecessary interference in the

internal affairs of the Senate and

blatant abuse of the judicial process.

The matter now being criminalised

was brought to the plenary of the

Senate-in-session over a year ago.

And because it had no support, it was

overruled and roundly defeated in

chambers.

“To now take a matter that was

resolved on the floor of the Senate to

the police and then make it form

subject of a criminal prosecution of

freely elected legislators beats

imagination of free thinking men all

over the world. The implication is that

any matter that fails on the floor of

the National Assembly will now be

taken to the police, thereby

endangering every senator and

assembly member.

“This current move clearly runs

contrary to the Doctrine of Separation

of Powers and Checks and Balances

which are fundamental to the

successful operation of the

Presidential System of government. It

runs counter to the principle outlined

by the Supreme Court in the Adesanya

Vs Senate case, where it was held that

nobody should seek to use the courts

to achieve what he or she has failed

to push through on the floor of the

National Assembly.

“This present efforts, therefore, is

clearly a coup against the legislature

with the ignoble aim to undermine its

independence and subject the law

making institution to the whims and

caprices of the executive. It is a plan

to return Nigeria to the dictatorial

era, which we have, as a nation, voted

to reject. It is a dangerous trend with

grave implications for the survival of

our democracy and the integrity of

the component institutions. This rule

of men as against the rule of law is

also the reason the War Against

Corruption, one of the cardinal

objectives of the present

administration, is losing credibility

because people perceive it to be

selective and, in most cases, aimed at

settling political or partisan scores.

“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians

and the international community to

rise and condemn this blatant

attempt to subject the legislature to

the control, whims and caprices of

the executive. If the Legislative arm

falls, democracy fails, as there will be

no other institution empowered by

the constitution to check and balance

the enormous powers of the

Executive. We also call on the judiciary

as the last hope to save our

constitutional democracy and stand

for the rule of law, by doing that

which is right in this case.”

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