Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has urged the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to face the forgery charges against them rather than politicising the process, saying the two leaders have no immunity to dodge the charges against them.
Falana, who was Guest Lecturer at the 60th birthday celebration in honour of the Secretary to the Edo state Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, entitled ‘Limit of Executive Immunity’, in Benin City, also declared that according to a Supreme Court ruling, there was no longer absolute immunity and therefore, any president, governor involved in criminal charges including the leadership of the National Assembly must face the law.
Faulting the invitation extended to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) by leadership of the Senate over the forgery allegation against the senate President and his Deputy, Falana stressed that the senate leadership were condemned by law to report any forgery allegation against its members to the AGF, and therefore they failed in their duties by inviting the Attorney General on that issue.
According to him, “the senate is now politicising the issue, saying it is political victimisation but not that the offence was not committed. As leaders of the National Assembly you are supposed to be above board and that is even the more reason you must be careful. But I want to remind the senate that the Attorney General of the Federation is only answerable to his boss, which is the President and nobody else.
“The same thing applies to the states. So there is no longer absolute immunity in this country. And that is what is happening in Ekiti state today about money found in a bank and the governor is saying it is illegal to freeze his account; that is not true. Any issue that is criminal in nature must be treated as such,” he declared.
He further described Ihonvbere as a respected Nigerian who fought doggedly for the nation’s democracy.
The birthday celebration featured Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state; the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru, who was the chairman of the occasion; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Elizabeth Ativie and other members of the state Executive Council as well as Senator Domingo Obende.