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FG may file fresh charges against Saraki, Ekweremadu



Indications emerged, yesterday, that the Federal government may be planning to slam fresh forgery charges against Senate president, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.

Although some key officials in the Ministry of Justice refused to confirm the development, another source said there is a possibility of filing another charge against them. The source, who declined to be named, based on what he said “the sensitive nature of the case” said “things would be clearer in the next few days.

“Remember, government only withdrew the charge on the grounds that there was a similar case pending before another court, so, anything is possible.”.

Last week, government gave reasons why it decided to withdraw the two-count forgery charge it initiated against Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu before an Abuja High Court at Jabi.  Government said it took the decision because the subject matter is pending before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

Prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar had also terminated further proceeding on the charge against former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Efeturi.

Umar told the court that though his witnesses, including the Investigative Police Officer in charge of the case, were prepared and ready to testify, he said FG took the action as a mark of its respect for the rule of law.

After listening to all the parties, Justice Yusuf Halilu struck out the two charges.

The court had, on June 27, granted the defendants bail after they pleaded not guilty to the forgery charge against them.

Meanwhile, the civil suit at the Federal High Court which was filed by Senator Barth Nnaji, from Enugu State, is challenging the powers of the federal government to meddle in an internal affair of the Red Chamber.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)has described the withdrawal of the forgery case against Saraki and Ekweremadu and two others as meaningless.

The opposition party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said it was amused by the sudden realisation by government that the “Senate Rules forgery case was a shadow chase from the beginning.”

The PDP stated that the withdrawal of the forgery case validated its earlier position that the All Progressives Congress (APC)  administration was on a vendetta mission.

“It was complete nothingness!

“More so, the claim, through the lead counsel, Umar, that the withdrawal was on grounds of respect for the rule of law and hierarchy of the judiciary demonstrates more of comedy on the side of this federal government that has penchant for legal disobedience and abuse of court processes.

“Notwithstanding, this act of withdrawal justifies our earlier position that the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led administration is on a vendetta mission and not to govern.”

The party added that it was worried by the APC frequent interference in the affairs of other arms of government and noted that it must be curtailed immediately if Nigeria must operate like other democratic systems across the world.

“The principle of Separation of Powers, as propagated in every democratic setting, is to allow for checks and balances amongst the different arms of government in order to prevent excessive or cohesive use of power by any of the organs of government.

“In this context, it was clear to us and other well-meaning Nigerians, from the outset, that the case of forgery, instituted against presiding officers of the Senate, was just another bad politics of the APC.”

because the federal government, under the Penal Code Law, has no business with the standing rules of the National Assembly, as alleged.

“We, therefore, further call on the executive arm of government to maintain the sanctity of this principle and desist from unnecessary distractions with acts of impunity against persons, groups and organisations.

“We are in a democracy and not anarchy,” the PDP added.