Senate President, Bukola Saraki released a statement on Monday in Abuja, insisting that the ongoing forgery trial against himself and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, was just another phase in the relentless persecution of the Leadership of the Senate as well as a violation of the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government.
Part of the statement reads, “In our view, the charges filed by the Attorney General represent a violation of the principle of the Separation of Powers between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch as enshrined in our Constitution,
“Furthermore, it is farcical to allege that a criminal act occurred during Senate procedural actions and the mere suggestion demonstrates a desperate overreach by the office of the Attorney General. These trumped up charges is only another phase in the relentless persecution of the leadership of the Senate.”
Saraki said it was regrettable that at a time when the whole of government should be working together to meet Nigeria’s many challenges, “we are once again distracted by the Executive branch’s inability to move beyond a leadership election among Senate peers.”
He reiterated his commitment to the responsibilities that the office of the Senate President imposes on him and will not yield to individuals who are bent on undermining the country’s democracy in order to satisfy their selfish interests, adding that if it means “losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest.”
Earlier in the day, a Federal High Court in Abuja granted bail to Saraki, Ekweremadu and the two other accused persons over charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015.
But the trial judge Yusuf Halilu, also said the accused may be remanded in Kuje prison if they fail to meet their bail conditions.
The defendants were required to provide two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerians and who must own property in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II or Garki areas of Abuja.
The trial of the Senate principal officers alongside former clerk of the National assembly, Salisu Maikasua and his former deputy, Benedict Efeturi, commenced on Monday morning.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Before the trial commenced, Justice Halilu tried to maintain order in the court by asking supporters to vacate their seats so that lawyers could sit.
Halilu also asked journalists and lawmakers supporting the Senate President to leave the courtroom, saying that the names of persons that would be allowed in would be called.
The case was adjourned till July 11 for commencement of trial.