Saraki, however, said he remained committed to carrying out his responsibilities and would not be distracted by protests, which, according to him, are sponsored by people who could not get their stooge elected as Senate President and would want to achieve that feat through the back door.
A statement signed by Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, yesterday, said the protests are meant to disturb public peace and further blackmail Saraki into succumbing to the wishes of some people to quit the office of Senate President.
Meanwhile, a group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has said that for the upper arm of the National Assembly to play a constructive role in the ongoing anti-corruption crusade, its leadership must be sanitised.
“A legislative arm, which condones stinking corruption at the leadership level, can never be in tandem with Nigeria’s new elixir for anti-corruption,” MURIC said, warning that the Nigerian public is disenchanted with a legislature that cannot satisfy all righteousness.
MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said the admonition is imperative in view of “shocking revelations” emerging from the trial of Saraki, which began at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), last Tuesday.
“Saraki must go. Those who come to equity must come with clean hands. We cannot afford to have an icon of credibility at the Nigerian apex of the executive only to have the exact opposite in the higher chamber. Perhaps, that is why very little progress has been made since May 29, 2015. Saraki is a Trojan horse,” the group said.
Tagged: ‘Plot to Unleash Sponsored Anti-Saraki Protests Uncovered’, the statement by the Senate President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, reads in part: “The Office of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has uncovered plots by some politicians to sponsor protest marches and demonstrations in which some hired people will be given placards to disturb public peace.
“As part of their plan, they are already distributing money and other materials to some faceless Civil Society Organisations, market men and women associations and other shadowy groups, with a view to instigating demonstrations in Lagos, Abuja and Ilorin starting from Monday, April 11.”
It continued: “They believe that the ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal provides them the opportunity to stampede Dr. Saraki out of office, so that their defeated objective of getting their lackey into the office of Senate President will be realised.
This is another desperate move by these spineless politicians to achieve through the back door what they failed to realise on the floor of the Senate.
“We are alerting members of the public to the antics of these desperate politicians, which may result in breach of public peace, order and health. Dr. Saraki is a peace loving and law abiding politician.
The trial at the CCT is just beginning, and while the prosecution’s witness has started giving evidence, he is yet to be cross-examined by the defence team. The defence has also not opened its own case. We urge members of the public to patiently wait for the conclusion of the case.
“Since the fundamental principle of our legal system is that an accused person is presumed innocent until he is found guilty, Dr. Saraki will not allow any distraction to take him away from his responsibility as President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly.”
MURIC expressed displeasure over the fact “that more than 60 Senators accompanied Saraki to the CCT on his first day of appearance. The picture has been largely the same during other appearances. The business of Senate ground to a halt on each occasion with the attendant waste of taxpayers’ money.
“While we salute Senators for this manifestation of camaraderie, several attempts by the embattled Senate President to resist trial suggest that he probably has skeletons in his cupboard.
“The recent revelations during court proceedings where staggering amounts of money were alleged to have been surreptitiously deposited in bank accounts or siphoned outside this country by the Senate President through his agents also call for caution, concern and sober reflection.”
The rights group appealed to the Senators “to save Nigeria from the impending doom. Our Senators must prove to Nigerians that no single person is greater than Nigeria. It is time for pendulum swing. Distinguished Senators, are you going to be loyal to a particular person or to Nigeria?”
The group called “the attention of honourable members of the Nigerian Senate to the serious and damning implication of this ugly development,” adding: “The integrity of Senate is at stake here and something needs to be done and very urgently too.”
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