The Senate Unity Forum on Wednesday expressed concern over the seeming slow pace of investigation into the forgery allegations against some senators and management of the National Assembly, which was contained in its petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, three weeks ago.
The Forum, therefore, enjoined well-meaning Nigerians to, as a matter of urgency, prevail on the police to begin necessary investigation that would unravel those behind the alleged forgery scandal.
The SUF is alleging that the 2015 Senate Standing Orders, which was used to elect presiding officers for the National Assembly, was amended by yet to be identified individuals.
The petition, written by the SUF Secretary, Senator Suleiman Hunkunyi, reads in part, “We write to bring to your attention, the existence of the fraudulent introduction of a 2015 Senate Standing Rules as amended.
“We wish to attach the original and authentic Standing Order for 2011 that was used by the 7th Senate, Annexure A. “We again attached the annex, a purported amended Standing Orders 2015, which was used by the Clerk to the National Assembly (along with the Clerk of the Senate) in inaugurating the 8th Senate on June 9, 2015.
“The so called new Standing Orders purports to allow for secret instead of the open ballot system that has been prevalent in all Senate elections as permitted by the extant rules. “This infraction, among others, arise from the fraudulent production of the Rules without an approved consideration by the 7th Senate.
“At no time was the Standing Orders of the Senate amended during the entire life of the 7th Senate, neither has the 8th Senate sat for long enough to produce the rules now being circulated and in use”.
The police, on the strength of the petition, subsequently interrogated the leadership of the 7th Senate, including former Senate President David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; Former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba; and the Former Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang.
But the SUF, in a statement by its spokesperson, Senator Kabir Marafa, in Abuja on Wednesday, lamented that the police was foot-dragging on the issue.
Marafa said, “The problem is that the senate was inaugurated using a forged document. Who forged that document? We can’t gloss over or sweep that criminality under the carpet, Nigeria is not a banana Republic!
“The standing order is an upshot of the constitution, it spelt out clearly in order 110 (1-5) how it can be amended just like the constitution spelt out how it can be amended in section 9 (1-4). “The insertion of order 3 (2 iv) & 3 (3e i-iiii) in the 2015 edition is a deliberate act perpetrated by 5th columnist operating within the National Assembly to sabotage the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It was done to cause friction, disaffection and generate bad blood among senators from different zones and provoke a confusion in the Senate with the sole aim of stagnating government business to give them time to perfect their agenda!!” He lamented, for instance, that the insertion of order 3 (2 iv), was done to favour the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the Senate, who supported Senator Bukola Saraki to become the Senate President.
He said, “For 16 years of PDP leadership, the presiding officers and committee headship was skewed in favour of the zones that produces more PDP senators but suddenly they introduce equality of zones in the distribution of these offices because they lost out, this is unacceptable by APC senators.
“Let me use this medium to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to, as a matter of urgency, call on all the authorities concern to commence investigation into this illegality before it overwhelm us as a nation”.
On the effect of the National Assembly leadership crisis on the confirmation of Service Chiefs recently appointed by President Buhari, the SUF spokesperson explained that there is no law that sets time frame within which to clear them, adding that the president has the powers to appoint them on acting capacity, which he had done already.