The senate has said that it is standing by its president, Bukola Saraki, who is facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for alleged false declaration of assets.
The senate expressed its support for Saraki through Abdullahi Sabi, its spokesman, and added that his trial was politically motivated.
This comes amid calls for Saraki to resign his position.
The statement read:
“Following a meeting held in Abuja yesterday (Sunday) by some senators and the wide consultations with our colleagues in which we reviewed last Friday’s decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal on the preliminary matters filed by the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on the charges filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), we hereby resolve as follows:
“That from the beginning of the trial last September, we have declared that this case is not about any fight against corruption. It is simply a case of political vendetta. Our position remains the same. We still believe that the case is politically motivated.
“We also noted that the decision of the Supreme Court given last Friday was on preliminary matters arising from the commencement of the trial. The trial proper is yet to begin. And since the fundamental principle in our legal system is that a defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty, we have decided to patiently observe the proceedings until the case runs its full circle in the nation’s final judicial forum.
“It is on this ground that we want to state categorically that there is no basis for the call on the Senate President to resign until after the matter is decided in that final judicial forum. Such a call at this time is premature, mischievous and unwarranted.
“We therefore reiterate our support for Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate. We stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence. “We also call on members of the public to ignore the rantings of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate.
“We want members of the public to know that the Senate under Dr. Saraki has achieved stability in the legislative institution and we do not need any negative distraction at this point.
“The focus of the Senate is on the objective consideration and timely passage of the 2016 budget and we will want all Nigerians to support us as we concentrate on this important assignment.
“We also want to say that we will not make any further statement on this case until the matter has been decided in the final judicial forum.”