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How Senate Rules Were ‘amended’ For Saraki,Ekweremadu’s Elections – Clerk

The deputy clerk of the National Assembly,
Benedict Efeturi, confirmed to police investigators
that the senate’s standing orders used for the 2015
elections of Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as
senate president and deputy respectively, was
different from the 2011 version which should have
been in use at the time, details of police
investigation seen by PREMIUM TIMES show.

Mr. Efeturi made the disclosure to the Criminal
Investigation and Intelligence Department of the
Nigerian Police, which investigated allegations that
the rules were forged to help Messrs. Saraki and
Ekweremadu to their posts.

He however said the alteration, which some
senators denounced as illegal as lawmakers were
not informed about, was based on the directive of
the former senate leadership, led by its president,
David Mark.

He said the amendment was done “by convention
and practice” and not be “procedure”, as previous
versions of the rules were amended by the same
method.

Messrs. Saraki, Ekweremadu, Efeturi and a former
clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa,
have been charged with forgery. They were arraigned
on Monday before a High Court in Abuja.

They deny wrongdoing. The senate president and
his deputy accuse President Muhammadu Buhari of
bias, and argue that the case is a violation of the
independence of the legislature.

In his statement to the police, Mr. Efeturi, who is
also the Clerk of the Senate, said the leadership of
the seventh Senate under Mr. Mark ordered the
2015 Standing Rules be amended “not necessarily
by procedure” but “by convention and practice”.

According to the report, he “stated that the
leadership of the National Assembly of the 7th
Senate ordered the 2015 Standing Rules as
amended by their convention and practice. (He
stated) that the Senate Standing Orders 2003, 2007
and 2011 followed the same procedure as that of
2015. He emphasized that in the Parliament,
amendment of the Standing Orders is by practice
not necessarily by procedure.

“He further stated that during the ruling of the
Senate President on the 24th of June 2015, that the
Senate Standing Orders of the Senate 2015 is
authentic, final, relevant and cannot be challenged.
He attached a copy of the debates of the Senate on
Wednesday, the 24th of June where the Senate
President ruled (that) the Senate Standing Order
2015 as authentic Standing Orders of the 8th
Senate.”

Fraudulent Amendment

Mr. Maikasuwa, who conducted the elections of
Messrs Saraki and Ekweremadu, said he did not
refer to any Senate Standing Rules, rather, he said
he only performed his duty using “normal
procedures for the opening of a new parliament”.

He said, according to the police report, “that before
the election, he called on the Deputy Clerk to the
National Assembly who is also the Clerk to the
Senate to read out the guidelines for the election”.

He denied knowledge of the existence or production
of an amended Senate Standing Rules 2015, saying
he had no business in the daily activities in the
Senate.

He told the police Mr. Efeturi was “in better
position to know of the 2015 Standing Orders as
amended”.

The report says a number of Senators, including
Suleiman Hukunyi, Kabiru Marafa, Ahmed Lawan,
Abdullahi Gumel, Gbenga Ashafa, Robert Boroffice
and Abu Ibrahim, were invited during the
investigation.

In their separate statements, they said the seventh
Senate did not amend the 2011 Standing Rules and
thus, the amendment rules used for inauguration of
the eighth assembly was fraudulent since there was
no compliance with the requirements for
amendment of Senate Rules.

Mr. Lawan, who contested and lost the senate
presidency to Mr. Saraki, said, “The procedures for
election into the two presiding offices are clearly
stipulated in Order 2 (2(i) of the Senate Standing
Rules 2011. That contrary to the provision of the
above order, the Clerk to the National Assembly
introduced and used order 3(3) e (ii) of the
purported 2015 Standing Order”.

The report also noted the submissions of some
former lawmakers like Ita Enang, who was
chairman, Rules and Business in the seventh
senate. Mr. Enang, now President Buhari’s assistant
on senate matters, told the police that the previous
Senate did not amend the rules.

Mr. Ekweremadu accused the police of bias in its
investigation.His spokesperson, Uche Anichukwu, told PREMIUM
TIMES that only All Progressives Congress Senators
in the Unity Forum—a group opposed to the
election of Mr. Saraki – were invited for
questioning. He queried the basis for his
arraignment as he was neither questioned nor
indicted by the police.

In the summary, the police’s CIID said the contents
of the 2015 Rules “are substantially different from
the Senate Standing Order 2011 as amended” and
that “Sections 2(iv), 3(3)EI,ii,iii,G and H, 5 and 7 of
the Rules are different in the two Orders”.

“The allusion of the Clerk of the Senate to
procedure of amending the Standing Orders of the
Parliament through ‘practice and not necessarily
procedure’ is a misplaced analogy and
undemocratic because the Nigerian Senate has
clearly laid down without a proviso, the procedure
to be adopted in amending its standing orders as
contained in the section 110 of 2011 Senate
Standing Orders,” the police said.

It added that, “This practice where some group of
senators amend the Rules of the Senate without
following legal procedures is not only criminal but
portends danger for growing democracy”.

The reported, dated July 14, 2015, was forwarded
to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar
Malami, to determine “if this conduct constitutes
crime or should be treated as an internal affairs of
the Senate”.

Saraki, Ekweremadu not mentioned or indicted
In the report, no complaint was raised against Mr.
Saraki. He was not indicted. Although Mr.
Ekweremadu was also not expressly indicted by the
report, he was part of the seventh Senate leadership
which Mr. Efeturi said gave orders for the rules to
be amended. Mr. Ekweremadu was deputy senate
president under Mr. Mark.

The criminal charges came about a year after the
report was submitted to the Federal Government.
Mr. Saraki and the three were arraigned before an
Abuja High Court on Monday, triggering a war of
words between Mr. Saraki and President
Muhammadu Buhari.

“That is what infuriated the Senate,” Mr. Anichukwu
said. “How could you prosecute Saraki and
Ekweremadu who were neither questioned nor
indicted in the Police report.”

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/
headlines/206126-exclusive-senate-rules-amended-
saraki-ekweremadus-elections-clerk.html


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How Senate Rules Were ‘amended’ For Saraki,Ekweremadu’s Elections – Clerk

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