The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has written a petition to the parliament of the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), governments of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and other foreign missions, over “an attempt by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to truncate Nigeria’s democracy.”
The petition was sent on Tuesday; barely 24 hours after the federal government arraigned him, his principal, Senate President, Bukola Saraki and two others on alleged forgery of 2015 Senate Standing Rules in an Abuja High Court.
In the two-paged letter, titled “Re: Trumped up Charges Against the Presiding Officers of the Eighth Senate: Nigerian Democracy is in Grave Danger”, Ekweremadu insisted that Buhari’s government wants to silence him as the highest ranking opposition leader in the country by prosecuting him for alleged forgery.
He attached copies of the court summons, and other relevant documents, relating to the matter, to his letter.
Ekweremadu called on the international community to go through the documents and determine if the trial was justifiable or one purely borne out of political vendetta.
“You may further wish to judge for yourself whether this unfolding scenario, coupled with the clampdown on the opposition, such as targeted arrests and indefinite detention of opposition figures and dissenting voices in spite of court pronouncements and in clear violation of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as the sustained marginalisation of the South-east and South-south geopolitical zones of Nigeria, do not constitute a grave danger to the nation’s hard-won democracy,” he said.
The letter added: “I wish to forward to you the court summons containing the trumped up charges preferred against my person; the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Bukola Saraki, CON; and two others.
“I also wish to appeal to you to kindly find time to read through the annexures – petition by members of the Senate Unity Forum, statements by persons interrogated, and the police report – to see if we appeared anywhere in these documents.
“You may, thereafter, judge for yourself whether the federal government, acting through the Attorney-General of the Federation, has any justification whatsoever to generate our names for trial.
“The list of the accused persons appear to have been politically generated because you cannot by the documents attached, relate any of our names to the offence for which we are now being charged.
“Moreover, the rules and principles of fair hearing have not been adhered to because the police have not interacted with neither me nor the President of the Senate as at the time of writing this letter.
“You may also wish to judge for yourself whether this trial orchestrated against me is not a political trial, calculated witch-hunt, barefaced intimidation, and a clear attempt to emasculate the parliament and silence me as the leader and highest ranking member of the opposition in Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, it would also be recalled that an attempt was made on my life on November 17, 2015. The Nigerian security agencies did nothing, even though the incident was duly reported. This is for your information and reflection.”
When contacted on the letter written by Ekweremadu to the international community, the presidency stated that he would not break words on the matter.