Forgery trial: Saraki cancels trip, may miss ‘lesser Hajj’ for the first time in a decade

Senate President Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, and two others would be arraigned before a federal High Court on Monday (today) on allegations of forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 (amended).

Saraki and co-defendants are facing a two-count charge filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The charges border on criminal conspiracy to alleged forgery contrary to Section 362 of the Penal Code.

According to The Nation, Saraki, who is also facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false asset declaration, has canceled his proposed trip to Saudi Arabia for Hajj (Umrah) over the arraignment.

His lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), argues that no prima facie case has been established against Saraki, urging the court to dismiss the charges preferred against Saraki and others.

He is further praying the court to alternatively adjourn the case as Saraki was also facing a legal trial at the CCT which might jeopardize his right to a fair hearing if both trials holds simultaneously.

A source privy to the situation told The Nation about the intended trip of the Senate President, which was aborted.

The source was quoted to have said, “The Senate President was scheduled for lesser Hajj on Friday but he could not perform his religious obligation because of the trial.”

“In deference to the rule of law, he chose to stay at home to prove his innocence. Going to Saudi Arabia might attract another meaning. You can see that Saraki has nothing to fear at all. He believes he will go through the judicial process as a democrat.”

“The outcome of Monday’s (today) session at the court will determine whether or not the Senate President can still perform the lesser Hajj. In the last 10 years, he has not missed this religious obligation.”

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