Nigeria’s Senate has summoned Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, to justify the forgery case against Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
The two and others are alleged to have forged the senate rule ahead of the election of principal officers in June last year.
The court summon, inviting Saraki and Ekweremadu over alleged forgery of Senate Rules, was pasted on the notice board in the Senate yesterday as it had been difficult to serve the officers.
The notice board bearing the summons sits at the White House section of the National Assembly Complex.
The summons from the High Court Abuja listed Saraki, Ekweremadu, immediate National Assembly Clerk Salisu Maikasuwa and Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly Benedict Efeturi, as defendants. But it was removed after a few minutes by unknown persons.
The invitation of the minister followed the adoption of a motion of national urgent importance entitled, “Imminent threat to our democracy, alleged invitation of our principal officers by the court,” moved by Senator Dino Melay, seconded by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, (Akwa Ibom North East).
The upper chamber resolved that Malami should also appear to justify with evidence why his action to prosecute Saraki and Ekweremadu does not constitute gross misconduct, incompetence, contempt of court and abuse of office.
It specifically mandated its “Committee on Judiciary, Legal Matters and Human Rights to within two days summon the Attorney General of the Federation to explain and justify with evidence the basis for his action and why it does not constitute gross misconduct, incompetence, contempt of court and abuse of office.”
It further adopted that resolution that “the Senate Rule 2015 is not forged and it is the authentic rule of the Senate.”
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the session, said: “I am going to put the question. I don’t intend to say much because I’m involved. I just want to add that those who use their public office today to persecute others must realise that no condition is permanent.”
Melaye brought the motion relied on orders 42 and 52, matter of urgent national importance.
He said his motion is on the imminent threat to the country’s democracy as it related to the alleged invitation of Saraki and Ekweremadu by the court in Abuja.
Immediately Melaye read the title of the motion, Ekweremadu interjected and asked whether it was the wish of the Senate to take the motion immediately.
Senators chorused “yes” an affirmative that gave Melaye the authority to continue with the motion.
Melaye said: “The Nigerian Senate observes the ongoing systematic degradation and abuse of the office of the leadership of the National Assembly by the Executive arm of government through intimidation and harassment.
”This Senate notes regrettably that the executive arm of government as presently constituted is still to come to terms with the constitutional tenets of separation of powers and the independence of the legislative arm of government.”
”This Senate notes also the lack of respect for judicial decisions and the resolutions of the National Assembly by the executive which is beginning to arrogate to itself, unify powers of the federation.
”The Senate notes that the current attempt to arraign the leadership of the Senate over an internal matter of the Senate and claims spuriously a forgery that does not exist is a smokescreen for an impending attempt to overthrow the legislative arm.
”This Senate notes further that the judiciary had through several rulings in a recent case Suit no AFC/ABJ/CS/646/2015 on the same issue warn the executive arm from trending on the path of criminalising or interfering in the running of the internal affairs of the Senate.
”The Senate is disturbed that instead of applying itself to the myriads of problems confronting the nation including the escalating cost of living, upsurge violent extremism, worsening insecurity, rising ethnic divisions, skyrocketing unemployment, declining national productivity and a nose diving economy into recession, the executive continues to be hell bent on chasing rats while the federation burns.
”This Senate notes with regrets the deviant act of the Attorney General of the Federation and his office contentiously disregarding the binding decision of the Federal High Court without a pending appeal by the police and the Attorney General on the same matter in which the Federal High Court had decided to file charges against the leadership of the National Assembly is a gross violation of the Attorney General official calling and attempt to overthrow the legislative arm of government and force autocracy on our body polity.
”I want to bring to the memory of this Senate and remind the executive arm of government that anything that is fake must have original.
”I want to remind the executive again that we all served in this chamber on the 9th of June, 2015.
”Two days before our resumption I can speak for myself, we were invited to come to the National Assembly for documentation and when I came for my documentation I was given a copy of the constitution and the rules of the Senate.
These two documents were given to me clear 48hrs before my inauguration as a Senator.
”This same rule is what we used in the screening of all the ministers of the federal republic of Nigeria including the Attorney General of the Federation.
”This same rule if it is fake, the position of Attorney General as the minister of justice is also illegal.
”I also want to say Mr. President this same rule is what we used in the screening of Service Chiefs on the floor of this chamber. Melaye prayed the Senate to resolve to “mandate the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Legal Matters and Human Rights to within two days summon the Attorney General of the Federation to explain and justify with evidence the basis for his action and why it does not constitute gross misconduct, incompetence, contempt of court and abuse of office.”
He also prayed the Senate to resolve “That the Senate Rule 2015 is not forged and it is the authentic rule of the Senate. “
The two prayers were unanimously adopted although members of the Senate Unity Forum, a group of Senators who opposed Saraki’s emergence, were not in the chamber when the resolutions were adopted.