A bitter war of words erupted between the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, and Senate President (SP), Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, with respect to the alleged forgery trial of the SP and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, even as the SGF urged the principal officers of the Senate to resign their positions.
Lawal, who was reacting to the allegation by Saraki that a “cabal” had hijacked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as Ekweremadu’s statement that Buhari was exhibiting dictatorial tendencies, had stated that the Senate was not on trial for forgery, but that only the actors in the alleged act.
Lawal had allegedly accused Saraki of dragging the entire National Assembly into his criminal trial, saying he and his Deputy, Senator Ekweremadu, were standing trial as individuals over the forgery case brought against them by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
However, in a swift reaction, the Senate replied that the upper legislative chamber was being assaulted by the trial of Saraki and Ekweremadu, insisting that the two principal officers of the Senate will not resign.
A statement issued by the the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, read:
“We note in the statement issued by Lawal that the Senate is not the one on trial in the forgery case instituted by the AGF against the senate president and his deputy.
“We disagree with him on this position and we maintain our earlier stand that it is the Senate that is the target of the present attempt to intimidate the legislature to force a leadership change in the Senate.
“Lawal should tell us how reasonable it is to conclude that when the president of Nigeria and the vice president are being jointly tried in a suit which outcome can remove them from office, if it’s not Buhari government that is being targeted.
“Is it not also imperative to clearly state that contrary to the claim by the SGF that Saraki nor Ekweremadu were mentioned by the petitioners, the statements by those interviewed by the police or even the police report.
“Meanwhile, let us refresh Lawal’s memory about the facts of the 1999 case. “It is obvious that the senate president and his deputy are not being accused of certificate forgery as it happened in ex-Speaker Salisu Buhari’s case.
Therefore, nobody should compare an apple with orange. Also, neither Saraki nor Ekweremadu is below the age requirement for their present position as it was alleged in the Buhari’s case. Attempts to make the two situations look similar is to present all Nigerians as having no sense of history.”