We reported it earlier today that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government filed a motion and have withdrawn the charge of criminal conspiracy against Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu before the High Court of Federal Capital Territory. The high court in Abuja this morning, granted the application of the federal government to withdraw the forgery charge against Bukola Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu, alongside Salisu Maikasuwa, former clerk of the national assembly, and Ben Efeturi, his deputy.
Ruling on the application, Yusuf Halilu, the judge granted the application, saying: “ Having heard his submission, I have no other option but to strike out the entire suit.”
The lead prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), told the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Jabi Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on Friday, that the charges were being withdrawn because of a pending case related to the charges before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“This government respects the rule of law, and hierarchy of the judiciary. It is obvious from these two applications (filed by Saraki and Ekweremadu) and the similar case before your learned brother, Justice Kolawole, at the Federal High Court who is dealing with the issue that we are withdrawing the charges.
“It is trite that two matters of the same subject matter cannot be before different courts of coordinate jurisdiction. Therefore, the amended charge dated October 5, 2016 and also the original dated June 10, 2016 and filed the same date be struck out and all the four defendants be discharged,” he said.
The case before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja which was referred to by the prosecutor was a civil case filed by a serving Senator, Gilbert Nnaji, to challenge the then ongoing investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate rule by Saraki and others.The application by Umar for the withdrawal of the charges was not opposed by the defence lawyers comprising, Messrs Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN), Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Paul Erokoro (SAN) and Joseph Daudu (SAN). Justice Halilu subsequently struck out the case and discharged all the four accused.
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