Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu on Monday appeared before Justice Halilu Yusuf of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Order, 2015.
Saraki and Ekweremadu were charged along with two others, a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Efeturi.
All accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
The Senate had characterised the trial as an executive interference in the affairs of the National Assembly.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, reiterated in a statement on June 20, that the development negated the principle of separation of powers and was capable of endangering the nation’s democracy.
In the affidavit filed on June 10, 2016, the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) swore that the investigation into the case had been concluded.The charges read: “That you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about, the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly Complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired among yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law.
“That you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly Complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, with fraudulent intent, forged the Senate Standing Order 2011 (as amended), causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when you knew that the said Order was not made in compliance with the procedure for amendment of the Senate Order. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Law.”