Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate, Tuesday, descended very heavily on President Muhamnadu Buhari over the alleged forgery case the Federal Government instituted against its leadership last week, and subsequently summoned the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to appear before it.
The Upper Chamber accordingly directed its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matter to immediately summon the Attorney General to appear before it over the planned move to have the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and his Deputy, Senator Ike EKweremadu, arraigned before a federal high court in Abuja for prosecution on the alleged forgery offence.
The Attorney-General, as declared by the Senate, would before its Committee, explain and justify with evidence the basis for his action and why it does not constitute gross misconduct, incompetence, contempt of court and abuse of office.
It also declared unequivocally that the Senate Standing Rule 2015 used for the inauguration of the 8th Senate on Tuesday,June 9, 2015, was not forged, but authentic in all its ramifications.
“If it is considered as a forged document, then all legislative actions taken so far with the document are forged, like the 2016 Budget approval, confirmation of ministerial nominees, screening and confirmation of INEC Chairman etc,” it maintained.
In a motion moved to that effect by Senator Dino Melaye, the Senate condemned in all its entirety surreptitious attempts being made by the executive arm of government under Buhari to erode the independence of the parliament by forcing on them, a leadership change through the back door.
The motion is entitled: Imminent threat to our democracy as it relates to the alleged invitation of our presiding officers by a court of law in Abuja”.
Melaye said the ongoing systematic degradation and abuse of office of the leadership of the National Assembly by the executive arm of government through intimidation and harassment was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
“This Senate notes regrettably that the executive arm of government has presently constituted, is yet to come to terms with the constitutional tenets of separation of powers and the independence of the legislative arm of government,” he said.
The Senate specifically noted in the motion that the current attempt to arraign its leadership over an internal matter by spuriously claiming a forgery that does not exist, is a smokescreen for an impending attempt to overthrow the legislative arm which will be strongly resisted.
“The senate is disturbed that instead of attending to the myriads of problems confronting the nation including the escalating cost of living, upsurge in extremism, worsening insecurity, rising ethnic divisions, skyrocketing unemployment, declining national productivity and a nosediving economy into recession, the executive continued to be hellbent on chasing rats while the federation burns.
“This Senate, therefore, acknowledge the grave implications this emerging trends pose to the security, continued existence, unity and survival of our dear country,” it warned.
Dino in the motion also accused the executive of its lack of respect for the judiciary as it has been exhibiting to the National Assembly, which according to him, are geared towards one man rule as against participatory governance.
“My colleagues, Mr. President, this senate notes also the lack of respect for judicial decisions and the resolutions of the national assembly by the executive, which is beginning to arrogate to itself, absolute powers of the federation.
“Particularly this senate notes further that the judiciary had through several rulings in a recent case suit no AFC/ABJ/CS/646/2015 on the same issue warn the executive arm from trending on the path of criminalising or interfering in the running of the internal affairs of the senate,” he said.
In their contributions to the motion seconded by Senator Bassey Akpan, senators across party lines supported it overwhelmingly.
But in his remarks before putting the two adopted prayers to vote, EKweremadu, who presided over the session, warned those presently in public office and using it to persecute others, to know that nothing lasts forever.
“Thank you very distinguished colleagues. I am going to put the question, I don’t intend to say much because I’m involved. I just want to add that those who use their public office today to persecute others must realise that no condition is permanent,” he said.