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SENATE FORGERY: Saraki, Ekweremadu, others for arraignment today

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*Leave Senate President, deputy alone, Owie tells Buhari

By Henry Umoru, Ikechukwu Nnochiri &Joseph Erunke

ABUJA—Embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, are to be arraigned before an Abuja High Court sitting at Jabi, today on a two-count charge of conspiracy and forgery.

In the charge by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, the duo are accused of complicity in alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015.

They are to be arraigned alongside the former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Efeturi.

The alleged bogus Standing Order was used to conduct the July 9, 2015, election through which both Saraki and Ekweremadu emerged.

FG maintained in the charge the duo had by their conduct, committed an offence punishable under Section 97 (1) and 364 of the Penal Code Act.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate

The charge against the defendants, read: “That you, Salisu Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about June 9, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law.

Meanwhile, former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie, yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to leave the Senate President, Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu alone in the alleged plans by the Presidency to cripple the legislative arm of government.

Senator Owie who asked President Buhari not to interfere in the affairs of the National Assembly, said that the legislative arm in the world stabilizes democracy, adding that he should emulate those he described as worthy former democratically elected Presidents of Nigeria such as Shehu Shagari; Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who never interfered in the affairs of the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, there are indications that a vote of confidence would be passed on the duo of Saraki and Ekweremadu today by some of the senators.

To achieve this, Vanguard gathered that senators of both the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have been contacted to append their signatures to a motion to this effect, intended to be sponsored by one of the ardent supporters of the Senate leadership.

The intending action of the senate is still being kept in secret, but a source said many senators, perceived to be favourably disposed to the Saraki/Ekweremadu leadership of the 8th Senate, have been reached for their signatures.

The source said that they were, however, advised to keep the development secret.

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