Alleged forgery: Group urges Saraki, Ekweremadu to step aside

Against the backgrop of forgery allegations preferred against the Senate leadership, an anti-corruption group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has urged Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to step aside in order to preserve the integrity of the upper chamber of the National Assembly. Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, yesterday, CACOL Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran asked why the duo were still keeping their seats.
The activist carpeted the Senate for its refusal to screen ambassadorial nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari and declaring war against the executive following their arraignment in court over alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules.
Adeniran described Senators’ attitude as sabotage and tantamount to a coup against the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, former National Secretary of Labour Party, Dr. Kayode Ajulo yesterday added a twist to the face-off between the executive and legislature when he said Senate lacked constitutional powers to summon the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami to appear before its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for instituting a forgery case against the Senate President, his deputy and two top management staff of the National Assembly.
The Attorney General did not honour the invitation yesterday. Ajulo described the Senate summon as “utterly unbecoming” and stressed it was “sheer flagrant of abuse of separation of powers under Nigerian known laws.”
The lawyer, who said it was prejudicial, urged the lawmakers to “know when to cross the line.” He asked why the Senator David Umaru-led Committee allowed itself to be used to cause infraction on matters that are purely beyond the Senate and is presently being prosecuted in the court of competent jurisdiction.
Ajulo urged the AGF to discountenance the invitation and threats from the committee, on the matter under reference and continue to pursue his duties as provided by the laws of the land.
At PP 249-250 the Supreme Court spelt out the oversight and investigative function of legislators and its limitation by holding that the legislative’s power to investigate is not absolute as it has some legal impediments.
“In Tony Momoh V. Senate Of The National Assembly (1982) NCLR, 105, the Court of Appeal clearly held that section 82 of the 1979 constitution (akin to section 88 of the 1999 constitution) is not designed to enable the legislature usurp the general investigating functions of the executive nor the adjudicative functions of the judiciary. Any invitations by the legislature to any person outside the purpose defined by section 82(2) that is now 88(2) of the 1999 constitution is invalid.
“Also in Obayuwana V. Alli & Ors (1983) 12 Sc147 At 191-192, El-Rufai V. House of Representatives (2003)12 WRN I (SC) it held that the power of investigation by the legislature cannot be invoked to apply to issues that are outside the purview of the legislature in the exercise of the power to make law.”
He also berated NASS insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians by proposing life pensions for its presiding officers. While saying an emphatic no to the proposal, CACOL, according to Adeniran, also questioned the rationale behind the payment of life pensions to certain elected officials. According to him, elected officials are elected to serve, hence, political office is not a career or profession such that it should attract life pension.
The group posited that the time was ripe for the cleansing of the National Assembly of ignoble elements and save Nigeria the humiliation and image battering she is suffering in the comity of nations.

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