No fewer than 10 Senators have been listed as witnesses by the Federal Government in the case of forgery of Senate Standing Rule preferred against the Senate President, Dr. Olusola Saraki; his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; and two others.
The forgery trial is scheduled to begin today in Abuja with the expected arraignment of Saraki, Ekweremadu, as well as a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Efeturi before Justice Haliru Yusuf at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Jabi. The arraignment was shifted till today after an attempt last Tuesday was aborted as the accused persons were not in court.
The judge had then, at the request of the prosecution counsel, ordered that the court summons be by substituted service and pasted on the Notice Board of the National Assembly. This was complied with same day by the federal government. The accused persons are to be arraigned on two-count criminal charges for alleged forgery of ‘Senate standing Rule 2015’ with which the two principal Senate officials were elected in June, last year. However, the Senate has kicked against the planned arraignment, accusing the federal government of seeking to force a change of leadership in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, and warning that this was against the principles of separation of powers between the various arms of government.
The federal government had last week insisted on going ahead with the arraignment of the accused persons. A document obtained by our reporter from the court revealed that ten senators and two others have been lined up to testify and prove the forgery case against Saraki and the others. According to the court document, the Senators to testify against the Senate President, his deputy and the others are: Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, Senator Ita Enang, Senator Solomon Ewuga, Dr. Ogozy Nma, Adem J, Senator Ahmed L. Lawan and Senator Abdullahi A. Gumel. Others are Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Senator Robert Boroffice, Senator Abu Ibrahim and Senator Ojudu Babafemi. The document also revealed that all the witnesses lined up have already given a written statements during investigation.