Lagos lawyer, Barrister John Itodo has advised the Senate to stop crying wolf over the forgery case its President, Bukola Saraki and Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu are charged with by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami. He urged them to prepare to defend themselves in court as the Federal Government has the constitutional right to try the case.
The Senate had on Sunday described the forgery case as unconstitutional and a violation of the principles of separation of powers, checks and balances.
“We are compelled to alert the good people of Nigeria and the international community, that our democracy is in danger and that the attempt by the executive arm of the Federal Government to muzzle the legislature and criminalise legislative processes in order to cause leadership change in the National Assembly is a return to the era of impunity and lack of respect for due process, which we all fought to abolish.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to please caution his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami. This obviously is a dangerous case of violation of the independence of the legislature, undue and unnecessary interference in the internal affairs of the Senate and blatant abuse of the judicial process,” The Senate said.
Speaking with encomium.ng in a telephone interview, Barrister Itodo said that an allegation of forgery was a criminal one and an offence against the state and not against the Senate or even the presidency.
“Allegation of forgery is a criminal allegation if there are evidences and it is up to the accused to prove their innocence. Since it is a criminal allegation, it is an offence against the state and not against the Senate or even President Buhari.
“It doesn’t lie in the mouth of the Senate to cover up crime since the crime is not against the Senate. If there is a crime, the FG can prosecute particularly since they do not enjoy immunity,” he said.
The AGF office had commenced a forgery and conspiracy case against Saraki, Ekweremadu, the immediate past Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, and the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Ben Efeturi, at an Abuja Federal High Court for allegedly forging the Standing Rule of the Senate 2015.
The arraignment was billed for today June 21, 2016 but couldn’t hold as the defendants were not served the charges.
-DanielFayemi for encomium.ng