From: LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
A socio-political group, under the aegis of Movement for Genuine Change (MGC), on Thursday, kicked against the acquittal of Senate President Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), over false asset declaration.
The group described the ruling as ‘kangaroo and subversion of justice’, saying it “sees the no-case submission as acceding to the request of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Addressing reporters in Ilorin, MGC Director of Strategies and Communications, Alhaji Tunde Mohammed said, “We feel that the oversight personage and institutions were established not only to safeguard the high principle of law and justice but also to serve as prophylactic of wrongdoings in any chamber or by any officer of the law.”
Mohammed added that “Going through the grounds of dismissal of the matter by the tribunal, we are forced to reach the conclusion that the ruling is a manifestation of a mindset to deny justice to the people of Nigeria. This is more so because we believe that the Federal Government has unassailable facts before drawing the 18-count charge.
“After a critical perusal of the charges, which contained the ingredients of fraud, anticipatory declaration, non-declaration and money laundering among others, the belief of Nigerians was that the charges do not disclose that there would be a no-case submission in the allegations.
“Nigerians would have been more comfortable if the entire matter went through the rigour of trial with eventual final acquittal. But with the termination of the case before defence on no-case submission makes us believe that there is a compromise with the ruling APC and the tribunal.
“The evidence leading to this became clearer when the leadership of the Senate visited the APC headquarters and demanded that for the Senate to cooperate and work with the executive, all the charges preferred against the Senate President must be dropped.
“The people of this country have long yearned for a genuine self-rule and as well renewed their confidence in the judiciary. This process we feel should not be structured to reward bad behaviour. It is sad that when the weak transgress the law, its full weight through its punitive mechanism is crushingly brought to bear on then; but when the powerful, the mighty and the rich offend the law, they do so with relish and without the mildest punitive reactions from their enforcers.
“The situation we face in this country today is indeed like a war but a completely unconventional kind. One cannot be won in a conventional way. We will not win the battle against corruption unless we win at the level of our values, discipline and the enforcement of the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, said that the outcome of the CCT trial of Saraki did not come as a surprise, knowing that it was a mere political persecution.
Baraje said Saraki’s acquittal has renewed the people’s confidence in the country’s judiciary system, saying that the outcome of the trial based on a no-case submission by the defendant, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was a sign of vindication.
A statement issued , ams Thursday, from Baraje’s media office, said Saraki’s acquittal was the celebration of hopes to Nigerian citizens especially the innocent people so as not to be jittery .
Baraje said despite the politically-motivated trial to cause distractions for the 8th Senate under the leadership of Saraki, the Senate had achieved so much in the last two years, especially through effective legislation and passage of bills that were very crucial to the development of the country.
He, therefore, congratulated the Senate President for his victory at the CCT and called for the support of Nigerians for the National Assembly to enable the federal lawmakers fast-track the development of the country through passage of bills and robust legislation that would have positive impact on the people.