Most Senators View Saraki’s Trial As Persecution, Not Prosecution – Senate Deputy Leader

Bukola Saraki-CCTThe Senate leadership on Friday said that it shut down activities on Thursday in solidarity with its President, Bukola Saraki, because of circumstances surrounding his ongoing alleged false assets declaration trial.

Deputy Leader of the Senate, Ibn Na’Allah, in an interview in Abuja yesterday, said that it was the Senate’s belief that rather than prosecution, Saraki was being persecuted, hence the level of solidarity from the lawmakers.

The Senate for the third time since Saraki’s assets declaration trial began, was shut down on Thursday to enable senators accompany the embattled Senate president to the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Justifying the senators’ action, Na’Allah argued that majority of them believe that the trial of Mr. Saraki by the Tribunal is in no way a prosecution.

“You see, it is a matter of belief and I am going to tell you in very clear language.

“The belief of the 8th Senate and substantial number of the senators is that the trial of the President of the Senate is persecution rather than prosecution.

“If it is persecution, we believe that we have a responsibility to stand by him.

“But if it is prosecution, every senator of the federal republic believes and rightly so, that this government must be given all the necessary assistance it requires to fight corruption”, he said.

He argued that Saraki’s trial for alleged offences he committed 13 years ago while he was governor was more of a political vendetta than a legal or anti-corruption matter.

Maintaining that the senators felt that Saraki was on political trial, Na’Allah said that all the senators could not be wrong at the same time.

“Let me be honest with you; from the little that I know, the senate sees the trial as more of a political trial than a trial intended specifically for the purpose for which it should be done.

“It may be wrong, it may be right, but the circumstances of the trial and for the reason that the subject matter of the trial occurred about 12 or 13 years ago, you cannot fault the senators if they come to that conclusion.

“I am not so sure that you can say that the substantial number of people who believe that this trial is wrong can, at the same time, be said to be wrong.

“We keep on hoping that those who want to assist this government honestly and sincerely will see the wisdom in portraying this government in the best tradition of democratic society”, he said.

The deputy senate leader, however, said that he was sure that President Muhammadu Buhari meant well for Nigeria, with the intention of shifting from culture of impunity to that of adherence to the rule of law.

He decried that Nigerians, most times, did not like to hear the truth on issues, and would label somebody as ‘bad’ no matter how many times the person testified to his innocence.

“It is in the overall interest of everyone who loves this country to assist this government in doing everything in accordance with the dictates of our Constitution”, he said.

Na’Allah also urged Nigerian to desist from the habit of always treating actions of people in authority with suspicion, adding that citizens must also learn to speak well of the country in every circumstance.

“We must, as citizens of this country, decide whether we will hang ourselves on the landing of unquestionable acts or we imitate our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

“These are people who have seen good in themselves, in their leaders and in their country, and who have become patriots of their nations rather than patriots of myopic thinking”, he said.