In an investigation by Premium Times, deputy clerk of the National Assembly, Benedict Efeturi, confirmed to police investigators that the senate’s standing orders used for the 2015 elections of Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as senate president and deputy respectively, were different from the 2011 version which should have been in use at the time.
Mr. Efeturi made the disclosure to the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Nigerian Police, which investigated allegations that the rules were forged to help Messrs. Saraki and Ekweremadu to their posts.
He said the amendment was done “by convention and practice” and not be “procedure”, as previous versions of the rules were amended by the same method.
Messrs. Saraki, Ekweremadu, Efeturi and a former clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, have been charged with forgery. They were arraigned on Monday before a High Court in Abuja.
In his statement to the police, Mr. Efeturi, who is also the Clerk of the Senate, said the leadership of the seventh Senate under Mr. Mark ordered the 2015 Standing Rules be amended “not necessarily by procedure” but “by convention and practice”.
According to the report, he “stated that the leadership of the National Assembly of the 7th Senate ordered the 2015 Standing Rules as amended by their convention and practice. (He stated) that the Senate Standing Orders 2003, 2007 and 2011 followed the same procedure as that of 2015. He emphasized that in the Parliament, amendment of the Standing Orders is by practice not necessarily by procedure.
“He further stated that during the ruling of the Senate President on the 24th of June 2015, that the Senate Standing Orders of the Senate 2015 is authentic, final, relevant and cannot be challenged. He attached a copy of the debates of the Senate on Wednesday, the 24th of June where the Senate President ruled (that) the Senate Standing Order 2015 as authentic Standing Orders of the 8th Senate.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Maikasuwa, who conducted the elections of Messrs Saraki and Ekweremadu, said he did not refer to any Senate Standing Rules, rather, he said he only performed his duty using “normal procedures for the opening of a new parliament”.
He said, according to the police report, “that before the election, he called on the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly who is also the Clerk to the Senate to read out the guidelines for the election”
He denied knowledge of the existence or production of an amended Senate Standing Rules 2015, saying he had no business in the daily activities in the Senate.
He told the police Mr. Efeturi was “in better position to know of the 2015 Standing Orders as amended.”
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