Fresh trouble looms as the Federal Government of Nigeria is pressing charges on the Senate President Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, accusing the duo of forging the 2015 Senate Standing Rules used in electing them to office.
The charges against the two presiding officers of the Senate, which were filed on June 10, 2016, came more than a year after police investigations into the controversy in the 2015 election that inaugurated them into leadership.
While the duo have been charged to court accordingly, also charged alongside Saraki and Ekweremadu are the immediate past Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and his deputy Benedict Efeturi.
It was learnt that few days after the senatorial election, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC-Kaduna North) petitioned the Inspector General of Police, alleging that the Standing Rules used for the exercise was forged.
Hunkunyi, who was a secretary of the Unity Forum – a group of All Progressives Congress Senators opposing the emergence of Saraki as SP, preferring his opponent, Senator Ahmed Lawan – accused the four officials of conspiracy, and demanded criminal investigation of the matter.
The police later launched an investigation, submitting a detailed report to the nation’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The case, with reference number, CR/219/16, was filed on June 10, 2015 at the Federal High Court in Abuja. It has been assigned to Justice Yusuf Haliru.
The case bothers on two-count charge, including offence of conspiracy punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law; and offence of forgery with “fraudulent intent” punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Law.
Count one reads, “That you Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu on or about the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly Complex, Three Arm Zone, Abuja within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves, to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of Conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law.”
Count Two reads, “That you Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu on or about the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly Complex, Three Arm Zone, Abuja within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with fraudulent intent forged the Senate Standing Order 2011 (as amended) causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when you knew that the said Order was not made in compliance the procedure for amendment of the Senate Order, you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Law.”
The fresh trouble for Saraki is coming against the backdrop of his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over allegations of false declaration of assets when he was governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.