The senate president, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu are standing trial for the alleged forgery of the Senate standing order even though they both were not mentioned or indicted in the police report on the case.
The senate and the Presidency have, over the last couple of weeks, been at loggerheads for the perceived persecution of the senate leadership through the prosecution of the forgery case in an Abuja High Court.
The senate accused the executive arm of intimidating its leadership with the police and the judiciary on the premise that Saraki and Ekweremadu were wrongfully put on trial alongside the clerk of the senate for the said forgery case.
Documents on the investigation of the forgery by the police as seen by Premium Times suggests that the Senators had enough reason to be wary of the presidency as none of the current leadership of the senate was mentioned in the police report.
But Saraki and Ekweremadu were charged with forgery by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubukar Malami.
According to the police report, the deputy clerk of the National Assembly, Benedict Efeturi, confirmed that the senate standing orders used in the 2015 senate election which produced Saraki and Ekweremadu as president and deputy respectively were different from the ones used in 2011 by the 7th senate.
Efeturi had reportedly told the police during the investigations that the alteration of the standing orders was based on the directive of the former senate leadership, led by its president, David Mark.
He said the amendment was done “by convention and practice” and not by “procedure”, as previous versions of the rules were amended by the same method.
According to the report, he “stated that the leadership of the National Assembly of the 7th Senate ordered the 2015 Standing Rules as amended by their convention and practice. (He stated) that the Senate Standing Orders 2003, 2007 and 2011 followed the same procedure as that of 2015. He emphasized that in the Parliament, amendment of the Standing Orders is by practice not necessarily by procedure.
“He further stated that during the ruling of the Senate President on the 24th of June 2015, that the Senate Standing Orders of the Senate 2015 is authentic, final, relevant and cannot be challenged. He attached a copy of the debates of the Senate on Wednesday, the 24th of June where the Senate President ruled (that) the Senate Standing Order 2015 as authentic Standing Orders of the 8th Senate.”
In the report, no complaint was raised against Saraki, who eventually became the senate president on June 9, 2015 in an election that was conducted using the altered standing orders.
The police report did not indict Saraki. The deputy senate president was also not directly indicted by the police report.
The criminal charges were leveled against Saraki and Ekweremadu by the AGF however, a year after the police had submitted its report and recommendations.
According to Ekweremadu’s spokesperson, Uche Anichukwu, “That is what infuriated the Senate.”
“How could you prosecute Saraki and Ekweremadu who were neither questioned nor indicted in the Police report.”