Senate yesterday declared support for its president, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki , following last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that he should continue his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT over alleged falsification of assets declaration.
The upper legislative chamber, which described the apex court’s decision as a case of political vendetta rather than fight against corruption by the federal government, said the call for Saraki’s resignation by some senators, was premature, mischievous and unwarranted.
It therefore reiterated the support of majority lawmakers for the senate president, saying “we stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence”.
The senate, in a statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said the decision was taken after a wide consultations with the lawmakers.
The resolutions reads: “That from the beginning of the trial last September, we have declared that this case is not about any fight against corruption. It is simply a case of political vendetta.
“Our position remains the same. We still believe that the case is politically motivated.
We also noted that the decision of the Supreme Court given last Friday was on preliminary matters arising from the commencement of the trial. The trial proper is yet to begin.
And since the fundamental principle in our legal system is that a defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty, we have decided to patiently observe the proceedings until the case runs its full circle in the nation’s final judicial forum.
“It is on this ground that we want to state categorically that there is no basis for the call on the Senate President to resign until after the matter is decided in that final judicial forum. Such a call at this time is premature, mischievous and unwarranted.
“We therefore reiterate our support for Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate. We stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence.
“We also call on members of the public to ignore the ranting of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate and are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate.
“We want members of the public to know that the Senate under Dr. Saraki has achieved stability in the legislative institution and we do not need any negative distraction at this point.
“The focus of the Senate is on the objective consideration and timely passage of the 2016 budget and we will want all Nigerians to support us as we concentrate on this important assignment.
“We also want to say that we will not make any further statement on this case until the matter has been decided in the final judicial forum”.
Saraki was, based on 13-count charge bordering on falsification of assets declaration leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, docked at the CCT before Justice Danladi Umar on September 15, last year where he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
But the senate president, through his counsels, later approached the Appeal Court to quash the trial on two different grounds of improper constitution of the panel members which is two now as against three stipulated in relevant laws guiding the composition of the tribunal; and improper summoning for the trial.
According to Saraki’s counsels, such summon of charges supposed to be carried out by the Attorney General of the Federation and not an Assistant Director in the office who signed the number three citizen’s summon before the Tribunal.
Though the Court of Appeal in its ruling on Saraki’s objections to the trial in November last year, knocked him off on both grounds, but his counsels went ahead to the Supreme Court for final appeal against the judgement in December, last year.
The Supreme Court, which later fixed its ruling for Friday, February 5, ruled that Saraki should face trial over the alleged false assets declaration.
Saraki’s trial is political, Kwara APC insists
All Progressives Congress, APC in Kwara State has described the trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki as political.
The party called on its members and supporters to remain calm, following the ruling of the Supreme Court on the appeal filed by Senate President against the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
The party in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, described the Supreme Court ruling as disappointing, surprising and shocking.
“Kwara APC reiterates its position that the ordeal of the Senate President is not an anti- corruption driven case but a politically-motivated prosecution aimed at undermining the person and the office of the Senate President.
“Kwara APC acknowledges and appreciates the resilience, loyalty and support shown thus far by our teeming members and supporters.
The party then urged its members to embrace peace and tranquillity as the innocence of the Senate President will be proven in due course and justice prevail over political shenanigans.
In a related development, workers of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC were locked out of their Abeokuta office as workers in the state protested the hike in electricity tariff.
The newly constructed dual carriage way along the Abiola Way in Abeokuta was completely blocked, resulting in heavy traffic along the new expressway.
The protesters in their hundreds were led by leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Akeem Ambali; Trade Union Congress, TUC, Olubunmi Fajobi and Yinka Folarin of Coalition of Civil Societies.
The protesters had earlier taken their protest to number of markets and some major areas of the town, to sensitize the public on the need to kick against the new tariff.
The protest also armed themselves with placards with various inscriptions like, ‘Stop the forceful extortion’, ‘Transformer and Pre-paid meter must be free’, ‘We say no to Increment’, ’Electricity is Our Right’, and ‘Fashola Don’t be demonic, Stop extortion’, among others.
At the entrance of IBEDC, the protesters manned the gate to prevent the staff’s access into their offices while causing gridlock in the area for almost an hour.
Motorists plying the road had to make a detour, as the protesters stayed glued on the road while the police as well as other security personnel were seen monitoring the protest to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
The protesters also added comic relief to the rally, as they mounted speakers on one of their vehicles, which provided late Fela Anikulapo song of ‘Authority Stealing’ which rented the air.
The leaders of the protesters who took turn to make speech vehemently said, they would not agree with the tariff introduction adding that it was abnormal and unaccepted to Nigerians.

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