Forgery: Ekweremadu Petitions UN, US, UK, EU
Barely 24 hours after his arraignment in court on charges of alleged forgery of parliamentary rules, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has written to the United Nations, United States’ Congress and the European Union (EU) Parliament, alerting the international community over what he described as an attempt to truncate Nigeria’s democracy and silence him as the highest ranking member of the opposition in the country.
In a two-page letter, titled: “Re: Trumped Up Charges Against the Presiding Officers of the 8th Senate: Nigerian Democracy is in Grave Danger,” Ekweremadu said that his trial alongside the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and two others was part of an orchestrated attempt to stifle the opposition and ensure the full entrenchment of dictatorship in Nigeria.
Ekweremadu, who attached copies of the court summons and other relevant documents relating to the forgery case to his letter, wants the international community to judge whether or not the trial was justified or borne out of political vendetta. According to him, neither his name nor that of the President of the Senate, featured either in the petition by the aggrieved members of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF) or during the investigation of the petition by the police.
He added that their arraignment before the court could not be divorced from the perceived bid by some elements in the Nigerian government bent on crippling the parliament in the name of fighting corruption.
The letter, which was also copied to the Embassy of the United States, the United Kingdom and other foreign missions in Nigeria read in parts: “I wish to forward to you the court summons containing the trumped up charges preferred against my person; the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Bukola Saraki, CON; and two others.
“I also wish to appeal to you to kindly find time to read through the annexures – petition by members of the Senate Unity Forum, statements by persons interrogated, and the police report – to see if we appeared anywhere in these documents.
“You may, thereafter, judge for yourself whether the Federal Government, acting through the Attorney- General of the Federation, has any justification whatsoever to generate our names for trial. The list of the accused persons appear to have been politically generated because you cannot, by the documents attached, relate any of our names to the offence for which we are now being charged.
“Moreover, the rules and principles of fair hearing have not been adhered to because the police have not interacted with me or the President of the Senate as at the time of writing this letter.
“You may also wish to judge for yourself whether this trial orchestrated against me is not a political trial, calculated witchhunt, barefaced intimidation, and a clear attempt to emasculate the parliament and silence me as the leader and highest ranking member of the opposition in Nigeria.
“You may further wish to judge for yourself whether this unfolding scenario, coupled with the clampdown on the opposition, such as targeted arrests and indefinite detention of opposition figures and dissenting voices in spite of court pronouncements and in clear violation of the Nigerian constitution, as well as the sustained marginalisation of the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of Nigeria, does not constitute a grave danger to the nation’s hard-won democracy.”
Ekweremadu recalled that before this time, an attempt was made on his life on November 17, 2015.