The much-awaited arraignment of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu before an Abuja high court on Tuesday did not take place, after all.
Saraki and Ekweremadu were to be arraigned, along with two other legislators, on charges related to the forgery of the Senate Standing Rules used in the conduct of the elections that brought them into office as principal officers of the National Assembly.
But contrary to media reports, as at Tuesday, the Federal Government had yet to serve the four defendants with the criminal charges, as required by law.
The court bailiff said to have taken the charge sheets to the National Assembly complex on Friday evening, could not serve it on them because the defendants were not in their offices.
A similar attempt said to have been made on Monday by the bailiff to serve them failed because he was told that the lawmakers do not sit on Fridays and Mondays.
As at the time of filing this report, a source in the FCT High Court said that the bailiff had been sent out with the charge sheet to effect its service on the four defendants, personally, as required by law.
The court source added that until the defendants have been personally served, their arraignment could not hold.
The charges filed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation by the Federal Government, against the senators reads, “That you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law.”
It also accused them of fraudulently forging the Senate Standing Order 2011 (as amended), causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and “circulating same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when they knew that the said Order was not made in compliance with the procedure for amendment of the Senate Order.”
Some lawmakers had, on behalf of the Senate, petitioned the police, alleging forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that produced Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu, following the election of the principal officers of the Senate.