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Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Clash over Supreme Court's ruling on Bukola Saraki  CCT trial.
The verdict of the Supreme Court which validated the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, has triggered a showdown between Saraki loyalists and the Senate Unity Forum ahead of the resumption of plenary next Tuesday.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that trouble started when some senators who are loyal to Saraki, held a meeting on Sundaycevening and decided to issue a statement declaring their full support for the embattled Senate President. But the senators incurred the wrath of their colleagues in the Senate Unity Forum following their statement declaring the support of the Senate for Saraki. The statement signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, indicated that it was the position of the Senate to support Saraki and judged him innocent of charges levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
But the spokesperson for the SUF, Senator Kabir Marafa, expressed shock at the contents of the statement, saying it was the position of a few senators.
He insisted that his position and that of other members of the SUF on the issue remained unchanged. He said, “In as much as I want the whole world to know that members of the SUF do not have any personal problem with the Senate President, we believe that as lawmakers, we should respect the law. I am not aware of any meeting of senators where that decision was taken and we are not part of it.”
Another member of the SUF from the North-Central, said the group would make its position known at the appropriate time, following the normal legislative procedure.
He said, “We will definitely pass our message across to the Senate using the normal channel. We will not take issue with anyone on the pages of newspapers.”
Also, a ranking senator from the South-West, who is also a strong member of the SUF, told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the statement did not represent the position of the Senate.
The senator, who said the South-West caucus would react officially at the appropriate time on the issue, accused the Senate spokesperson of abuse of office as he was only expected to make public the resolution of the Senate taken at plenary by either simple majority or two-thirds majority. He said, “This statement is obviously a gross abuse of office on the part of the Senate spokesperson. How can you meet with a handful of senators in a private home and issue a statement on behalf of the entire 109 senators?
“The Senate has its own procedure. Such
position could only be taken at plenary
through a motion. I am aware that there was no emergency meeting since the Senate has suspended plenary.
“So, what is the basis for issuing the
statement? Was there a motion? Who
sponsored it? Our position is that Senator
Saraki should resign and face his trial and we are committed to it.”

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