From FRED ITUA
A pro-democracy group, Centre for the Advancement of Literacy and Leadership (CALL), has described the forgery suit by the Federal Government against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Depu-
ty, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as a witch-hunt and a plot to ground the Senate.
Similarly, it described the recently reported letter by the police inviting Ekweremadu and some leaders of the 7th Senate for interrogation over alleged forgery of Senate Standing Orders 2011, as mischievous.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director of the Centre, Mazi Bismarck Oji, and made available to newsmen, the group noted that the Assistant Force Public Relations Officer (AFRPRO), Mr. Abayomi Shogunle, had in July last year, told newsmen at the Force Headquarters that though the police team met with the ex-Clerk to the National Assembly, CAN, Mr. Salisu Maikasuwa, they neither invited nor interrogated Senator Ekweremadu. It, therefore, wondered when the police interacted with Ekweremadu,
to warrant the deposition to an affidavit, attached to the fresh suit, where it claimed that investigation
had been completed.
The affidavit was deposed to at the Federal High Court Registry, Abuja and dated June 10, 2016.
“The most annoying part of the whole thing is the reported recent letter to the CNA tagged “reminder” and also referring to a purported letter of July 2015. You can only remind what has been earlier attempted or requested;; and if you said you did not invite them, what then are you reminding?’ the Centre queried.
Wondering over the difficulty in sending an invitation to Saraki, Ekweremadu, David Mark and others directly instead of pretending to invite them through the Clerk, the Centre contended that it was untoward to the file criminal charges against people on serious allegation as forgery without any active attempt to extract statements from them.
“It is even worse to try to obtain from the backdoor a statement after you have field charges, because it shows somebody is desperate to nail somebody,” Bismarck further said.
“From what dey have filled at the court and the police report, there is no statement that Saraki or Ekweremadu made on the alleged forgery;; there is no particular role those interrogated accused Saraki
or Ekweremadu of playing in the alleged forgery. Even the Senate Unity Forum did not mention them in their petition. So, how did the Officer of the Attorney General zero in on Saraki and Ekweremadu?
“And if you are talking about the leadership of the 7th Senate, Ekweremadu was not the Senate President or the Senate Majority Leader or Chairman of the Committee on Business and Rules.
So, why is every other member of the leadership of the 7th Senate missing? Again, was Saraki a member of the leadership of the 7th Senate?”
Throwing more light on the statement, Mazi Oji insisted that it was evident that the Federal Government was desperate to put Ekweremadu in the dock in order to embarrass him, silence the opposition, and
cripple the institution of the Senate.
He added: “Each time Saraki goes to attend to his case, Ekweremadu presides. Now there is no way Ekweremadu will be facing trial alongside Saraki that the Senate will function.
It is therefore a ploy to destabilize the Senate and compel senators to do away with Saraki and Ekweremadu to avoid a vacuum or shut down. But, as a matter of common sense, if senators feel their Standing Rules were amended irregularly or that its current leadership was fraudulently elected, it is up to them to impeach their leaders, not for the executive or the courts to meddle in the senate’s internal affairs.
“Funny enough, members of the Senate Unity Forum not only submitted themselves to be inaugurated, with Saraki presiding, they also accepted appointments into juicy committees under the same leader-
They use and quote from the purported forged Standing Orders every day,” he reasoned. He said there
were fears that Senator Ekweremadu was also being persecuted for condemning the alleged massacre of pro-Biafra demonstrators by Nigerian security forces, whereas Ekweremadu had always condemned such killings in other parts of the country.
Recalling the detention of Femi Fani-Kayode and alleged harassment of Governor Ayodele Fayose, he cautioned the Federal Government to desist from further clamp down on the leading voices of the opposition.