Some senators yesterday discarded the much reported forgery case against the leadership of the 8th Senate and top management of the National Assembly, describing it as a deception to misdirect them from carrying out their legislative duties.
Reacting to the confirmation by the police of the forgery case levelled by senators belonging to Senate Unity Forum, SUF, the umbrella body of the All Progressives Congress, APC senators who supported Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) for the position of senate president against Bukola Saraki, they said there were nothing like forgeries in the 2015 senate standing order but amendments.
One of the senators who spoke to journalists in Abuja, Abiodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South) said the amendments made in the 2015 senate standing orders being referred to as forgeries by the Ahmad Lawan group in the senate, was carried out by the management of the National Assembly for the inauguration of the 8th Senate.
She said the senators alleging forgeries as a result of slight amendments effected on the 2011 Senate Standing Order used by the 7th Senate as reflected in the 2015 standing order, are just playing politics with a strictly internal matter of the senate, forgetting that legislative immunity on such matter, prevents both the police and the court of law to meddle in it.
She said: “As far as majority of the senators are concerned, the alleged forgeries being bandied about by Ahmad Lawan and his group, is a ruse, because for every new senate, a new standing order must be provided which was what was given to senators at the inauguration of the 8th Senate on the 9th of last month.
“Lawan and the other senators crying wolf where there is none, were not the only senators who were in the 7th Senate and besides, the 7th Senate ended with its standing order of 2011 on the 4th of June 2015. The 2015 Senate Standing Order is a fresh document meant for the 8th Senate and not 7th Senate, so where lies the forgery they are talking about?”
She added that appropriate sanctions may later be meted out to those dragging the institution of the senate in the mud on matters that are strictly internal.
“I think there are reprimands for those who go outside the line and I am sure that the senate will apply appropriate sanctions at the appropriate time to those that may be found culpable on this matter at the end of the day”, she stressed.
Senators Hope Uzodinma (PDP Imo West), Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central) and George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) in their separate reactions also said what reflected on the 2015 senate standing rules in comparison to similar provisions in the 2011 document used by the 7th Senate, were amendments and not forgery as alleged by some of their colleagues.
They said what the aggrieved senators should have done, was to have initiated the process of amending the provisions they found offensive and not shouting forgery and even taking the matter to the police.
The forgery scandal rocking the 8th Senate as alleged by the pro-Lawan Senators has to do with amendments made to the 2015 Senate Standing Rule, by yet to be identified individuals, upon which a petition was written by Suleiman Hunkunyi, ( APC Kaduna North), to the police for necessary action last month. The petition reads in part, “We write to bring to your attention, the existence of the fraudulent introduction of a 2015 Senate Standing Rules as amended.
“We wish to attach the original and authentic Standing Order for 2011 that was used by the 7th Senate, Annexure A.
“We again attach the annex Herero, a purported amended Standing Orders 2015, which was used by the Clerk to the National Assembly (along with the Clerk of the Senate) in inaugurating the 8th Senate on June 9, 2015.
“The so called new Standing Orders purports to allow for secret instead of the open ballot system that has been prevalent in all Senate elections as permitted by the extant rules.
“This infraction, among others, arise from the fraudulent production of the Rules without an approved consideration by the 7th Senate.
“At no time was the Standing Orders of the Senate amended during the entire life of the 7th Senate neither has the 8th Senate sat for long enough to produce the rules now being circulated and in use”.
The police, on the strength of the petition, subsequently quizzed the leadership of the 7th Senate, including Senators David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; Former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; and the Former Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang.
And barring any unforeseen situation, Senator Godwill Akpabio (PDP Akwa Ibom North West) may today emerge as the Senate Minority Leader following his endorsement for the position by the caucuses of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP across the six geopolitical zones in the senate.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that15 senators from the South-East met at the official residence of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday evening and endorsed him.
Similarly, 15 out of the 17 PDP senators from the South-South, Akpabio’s geopolitical zone, had also endorsed him as their candidate for Senate Minority Leadership position.

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