President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the attempts to link the ongoing trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki to him are unacceptable. [Photo: Buhari and Saraki]
This statement comes as 50 senators yesterday met in Abuja concerning the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT’s) invitation to Senate President Bukola Saraki for trial over alleged improper declaration of assets between 2003 and 2011. The senators are of the belief that a cabal in the presidency is instigating the trial against Saraki and warned that no cabal should exist and run the government on behalf of Buhari
But Buhari has warned Saraki: ‘Leave me out of your trial’
President Buhari said this in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
He said views to the effect that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) could only act upon external instigation were equally uninformed.
According to the presidential aide, there is no place in law that the Bureau and the Tribunal should take instructions from any quarters.
He said as an independent institution equal to any superior court of record; the tribunal is set up by the constitution to determine the issue of default, false declaration or forgery in assets declaration.
“This therefore is purely a judicial process and has nothing to do with the Presidency”, he said.
He said those who had an axe to grind with what they are doing should do it in a judicial manner by challenging those actions in a proper court of law.
“Let them hire a good team of lawyers to prove their innocence,” Shehu said.
“Government has no desire to persecute anybody. The President has vowed to respect the rule of law and this is what he is doing by staying out of this matter. He has said times without number that the war against corruption has no sacred cows,” he added.
Shehu noted that “Even if the president wants to help, there is no way he can do anything. Is he going to ask the judge to stop the trial?”
Meanwhile the senators who attended the emergency meeting held in a private office near the popular Next Supermarket, cut across party lines – the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties represented in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly. The meeting, which started at 11.00am ended at 3.00pm with some senators who were not in the country participating through telephone.
Some senators who were on holidays in the US, UK and those who are performing the on-going Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia participated in the meeting through telephone.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, pledged to support the anti-graft war of President Buhari, but accused ‘a cabal’ in The Presidency of instigating the government institutions against Senate President Saraki.
Elombah.com learnt Senator Saraki was not part of the meeting, but participants resolved to use all necessary channels to correct the anomaly.
Daily Trust reported on Sunday that one of the senators who attended the meeting said they initially suspected President Buhari to be the brain behind the trials, but after exhaustive deliberations they had a second thought on the issue.
“Our colleagues were angry at the beginning of the meeting because they were initially suspecting that the President has hand in the trial of Saraki. But after heated debate, they understood that Buhari was not responsible for it.
“One of our colleagues present at the meeting suggested that the Senate should reconvene on Monday [tomorrow] in order to address the challenge. His suggestion, however, did not see the light of day as we resolved to use other channels to address the challenge.”
In a telephone interview with Daily Trust newspaper, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah said they had unanimously resolved to work with Buhari to achieve his programmes and policies.
“We have resolved to use all available powers under the constitution to ensure that no cabal exists and run the government on behalf of Buhari and we have also resolved to deal decisively with the cabal,” he said.
Information available to elombah.com indicates that the senators who attended the meeting included Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East), Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), Senator Binta Garba Masi (APC, Adamawa North), and Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South).
Others were Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (APC, Kwara South), Senator Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi Central), and Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo-West).
The Court of Appeal will tomorrow hear the ex-parte motion brought by the embattled senate president concerning the order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to have him arrested and brought for trial.
At the weekend, the CCT, presided over by Justice Danladi Umar, issued an order to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, and other security agencies to arrest the Senate President for failure to appear before the tribunal last Friday. They were asked to produce him on Monday to face the trial. There is a 13-count criminal charge raised against Saraki by the Federal Government over an alleged false declaration of assets.
On his part, the Senate President rushed to the Court of Appeal in Abuja on that same day, seeking the stay of execution of the tribunal’s order.