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Palpable fear seems to have gripped the Presidency, as Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday night, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, for painting a wrong narrative on his on-going trial, over an alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rule.
Saraki, who is currently in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, blasted Buhari through the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, in response to a memo by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal.
Buhari, had earlier through the SGF, explained that Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, should not create the impression that the entire Senate is on trial over a forgery allegation.
The SGF had maintained that only Saraki, his deputy and two others were being tried for alleged forgery.
Reacting, Saraki in a statement last night signed by the Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, said the Senate was being targeted, in order to intimidate the legislature, and force a leadership change.
“We note the statement issued by the SGF, David Babachir Lawal, that the Senate is not the one on trial in the forgery case instituted by the Attorney General of the Federation, against the Senate President and his Deputy.
“We disagree with him on this position and we maintain our earlier stand, that it is the Senate that is the target of the present attempt to intimidate the legislature, to force a leadership change in the Senate.
He added: “Babachir Lawal should tell us how reasonable it is to conclude that when the President of Nigeria and the Vice President are being jointly tried in a suit, whose outcome can remove them from office, it is not the Buhari Government that is being targeted.
“It neither is also imperative to clearly state, that contrary to the claim by the SGF, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, nor was Senator Ike Ekweremadu, mentioned by the petitioners, the statements by those interviewed by the police or even the police report.
“Meanwhile, let us refresh Mr. Lawal’s memory about the facts of the 1999 case.
“It is obvious that the Senate President and his Deputy are not being accused of certificate forgery, as it happened in ex-Speaker, Salisu Buhari’s case.
“Therefore, nobody should compare an apple with an orange. Also, neither Saraki, nor Ekweremadu, is below the age requirement for their present positions, as it was alleged in the Buhari case.
“Attempts to make the two situations look similar is to present all Nigerians as having no sense of history.
“We also know that nobody can be accused of forging his own signature. The executive is in no position to determine what is the correct Standing Orders of the Senate.
“The Senate President and his Deputy were as at the morning of the June 9, 2015 inauguration of the Senate, mere senators-elect and could therefore, not have been in a position to influence any alteration in the Rule book.
“The Senate as an institution, and indeed the National Assembly, has spoken about their understanding of the present assault on their independence by the executive.
“We maintain that this trial, is a design by the Executive to criminalise the internal affairs of the Senate, to create a distraction for the leadership of the Senate, force a leadership change and cow the legislators.
“However, we are sure they will fail in this attempt. We only hope they will allow the judiciary to truly and creditably perform its duties and give independent verdict on the case”.