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Senate President Bukola Saraki has again failed to prevail on the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Forgery Trial: Dr. Saraki, Ekweremadu and The Law

Okoi Obono Obla, Abuja: Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution wrote, It is laughable and ridiculous for the Senate to take the position that the intended arraignment of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa and Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Bernard Efeturi before the Court today for forgery initiated by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is a coup against the legislature and amounts to an interference by the executive branch on the affairs of the legislature; and therefore a violation of the principles of separation of powers embedded in the Constitution. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

What is Separation of Powers? The principle of separation of powers underpinned that the three branches of government namely the executive, legislature and judiciary branches of government should be distinct and vested with separate functions and responsibilities because power should not concentrate in the hands of either the executive, legislature or judiciary but should be separated so that each should be balance and a check on one another.

The principle of separation of powers was originated by a French Legal Philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu. In his acclaimed work, In the Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu described the separation of political power among a legislature, an executive, and judiciary. Montesquieu approach was to present and defend a form of government which was not excessively centralised in all its powers to a single monarch or a similar ruler.

Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the three branches of government are separated and vested with distinctive powers and responsibilities.

The legislature is vested with the power of making law (National Assembly and State Assemblies); the executive is vested with the power of implementation and execution of laws while the judiciary is vested with the power of interpretation of law.

In accordance with the power vested in it to implement and execute law, the executive branch of the Federal Government through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation initiated criminal proceedings against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa and Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Bernard Efeturi of the Senate Standing Rules in the Federal High Court.

It is pertinent under Section 174 (1) of the Constitution, the Attorney General of the Federation is vested with the power to undertake and initiate criminal proceedings in any Court of Law in the Country over an offence created by an Act of the National Assembly.

So the Attorney General of the Federation by virtue of the power vested in him has simply initiated criminal proceedings against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa and Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Bernard Efeturi of the Senate Standing Rules in the Federal High Court for forgery.

So, the question is how initiation of criminal proceedings against Dr. Saraki; Ike Ekweremadu, Salisu Maikasuwa and Bernard Eferuti violated the principle of separation of powers inherent in the Constitution? How does the initiation of criminal proceedings amount to a coup against the legislature?

Is the Senate suggesting that its principal officers, members and staff of the National Assembly are above the law?

It is as clear as the crystal that under the Constitution, the Senate President and Deputy Senate President are not immune from criminal trial. Conversely, Salisu Maikasuwa and Bernard Eferuti are also not immune from criminal proceedings.
By the Constitution, only the President, Vice-President, Governors and Deputy Governors enjoy immunity from civil and criminal proceedings.

The only immunity enjoyed by members of the National Assembly is only when they are doing their work as legislators inside the chambers or within the precinct of the National Assembly.

Surely, forging the Senate Standing Rules does not amount to the internal business of the National Assembly which the executive or judiciary branches of government cannot interfere.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is, therefore, blameless for initiating criminal proceedings against Dr. Saraki; Ike Ekweremadu, Salisu Maikasuwa and Bernard Eferuti for alleged forgery after a thorough Police investigation of the issue whether there was an amendment of the Senate Standing Rules in 2015. The former Senate Leader, Senator David Mark and Chairman of Business Rules, 2015.Senator Ita Enang has confirmed upon interrogation by Police that there was no amendment of the Senate Standing Rul2015.

So there is substantial differences between the Senate Standing Rules 2011 and the purported Senate Standing Rules 2015 which was used to conduct election to elect the Senate President and Deputy Senate President in June 2015. This is the crux of the matter not emotionalism and sentiments to divert attention.

The Attorney General of the Federation should rather be commended for his fore rightness and courage in upholding the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism.

Source: NTA.

About Dr. Idris Ahmed

Dr. Idris Ahmed is the President and founder of the CUPS organisation. He is a Cryptologist (Mathematical science of designing and breaking computer security systems). He is the founder and Chief Executive officer of Tecomex Forensics Ltd (www.tecomex-forensics.com). He is passionate about fighting corruption, enhancing democracy, and establishing good governance in Nigeria. He is the Editor in Chief of the cupstv.com website.

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