Senate Forgery Suit?: PDP Reps Vow To Resist Attempt To Remove Saraki, Ekweremadu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Senate Forgery Suit?: PDP Reps Vow To Resist Attempt To Remove Saraki, Ekweremadu

Posted: Jun 22, 2016 at 6:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

…As South East Caucus ?Condemns Plot, Alleges Coup


Ahmed Musa

Abuja – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House of Representatives have on Tuesday vowed to resist any attempt by the Federal Government to illegally remove the two presiding officers of the Senate in the persons of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, from office.

The caucus while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja condemned in strong terms the current onslaught on the leadership of the upper legislative house, saying that it is an attempt to erode the independence of the legislature against the principles of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking for opposition lawmakers and flowing from a ruling by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/646/2015 between Senator Gilbert Nnaji, plaintiff/applicant and the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General of the Federation who were defendants/respondents, respectively, ?minority leader of the House, Hon. Leo Okuweh Ogor (PDP, Delta), challenged the executive to provide instances where the presiding officers had hands in the amendment of the Senate standing rule.

“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”, they said.

In the suit quoted, Justice Kolawole had on page 5 of the ruling paper held that …”My second view is that what legal right will be adversely affected unless this court intervened by granting the ‘Motion Ex Parte’ filed? The (within the provision of section 6(6)(b) of the constitution) plaintiff is only one out of 109 senators elected to the Senate, whilst one may find the involvement of the 1st defendant – being an agency of the executive arm of government dabbling, albeit on an invitation of certain members of the Senate, into internal affairs of the Senate a little bit worrisome…”

The caucus therefore stated: “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”, the caucus said.

The opposition lawmakers also rest their stance on the premise that Senator Ekweremadu ceased to be a senator from the 4th of June 2015 when the 7th Senate adjourned sine dine until he was inaugurated alongside other members of the 8th Senate on 9th June 2015.

The caucus, therefore, wondered how the production of Senate Order issued for the inauguration of the Senate would be any business of his, adding that the duo were never accused by any panel of inquiry or the purported petition to the police.

“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 a fair hearing”, the caucus submitted.

Expressing their anger further, the PDP lawmakers added they are totally not surprised at what they called “blatant impunity” designed to undermine the institution of the legislature given the antecedents of the AGF since coming to office.

They said the National Assembly should not be taken for granted for the understanding and cooperation it has accorded the executive in the last one year, adding that they have bent backward to accommodate the excesses of this current administration in the interest of peace.

Also in the same vein, the South East caucus of the House has called on the executive to “stop the onslaught on the South East geopolitical zone in the interest of the nation’s unity, peace and the survival of its democracy.

The caucus in a statement signed by the deputy minority leader of the House, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, stated that it has been following with keen interest the latest of the series of onslaughts against the person and office of the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu.

“This latest onslaught is being carried out through trumped-up forgery charges already before the Federal Capital Territory High Court.

“From what we have read from papers and other media outlets, the charges being preferred against Senator Ike Ekweremadu in particular and others in general are charges that cannot be sustained in a competent court of law.

“This no doubt leaves us with the strong impression that the Federal Government and its agents within the APC are hell-bent on removing Senator Ike Ekweremadu and thereby shut out the South East from the substantive positions of the Federal Government at all cost.”