The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday said that charges filed against senate president Dr. Bukola Saraki, and deputy senate president Ike Ekweremadu were in order, insisting that the duo and two other defendants in the charge are not above the law.
The minister, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, decribed the allegations by the senate that the case is a coup against the legislature as “totally untrue and baseless”.
The statement read:
For the benefit of doubt, as stated above, there was a petition bordering on allegations of forgery against the defendants. The petition was investigated by the police and the police recommended the case for prosecution.
At this point, the question is how initiation of criminal proceedings against Dr. Bukola Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu, Salisu Maikasuwa and Bernard Efeturi violated the principle of separation of powers as contained in the constitution?
The action of the Attorney General of the Federation cannot obviously be said to be a coup against the National Assembly as the Senate has claimed.
By preferring the charge, the accused persons are entitled to fair hearing under the law while the prosecution is obligated to prove its case against them beyond reasonable doubts.
Therefore, the Attorney General of the Federation has not violated any known law in the land. Or is the Senate suggesting that its principal officers, members and staff of the National Assembly are above the law or enjoy same immunity as do the nation’s President and Governors?
It is common knowledge over the years since the nation embraced democratic system of governance and backed by the current constitution those elected officers of government, who are exempted from legal encumbrances, whether it is civil or criminal, are known to all.
It is pertinent to be reminded too, that forgery of the Senate Standing Rules cannot be described as the internal business of the National Assembly that is exclusively only in its purview.
The Attorney General of the Federation cannot therefore be faulted for his decision to initiate legal actions against the accused persons for alleged forgery after a thorough police investigation of the issue, whether there was an amendment to the Senate Standing Rules in 2015 or not.
The case of Adesanya vs Senate, which has been seriously touted in its (Senate) press statement does not support them and they should rather take their plea and defend the action accordingly.