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Nigeria: Protesters storm parliament seeking resignation of its president

24th Feb 2016
Nigeria: Protesters storm parliament seeking resignation of its president

LAGOS, (AA): Hundreds of demonstrators on Tuesday stormed the Nigerian Senate building demanding the resignation of its president Bukola Saraki who is standing trial over charges of false assets declaration.

The protesters, gathering under the name Open Society Coalition, displayed different signs such as one urging Saraki to “leave senate and face the Code of Conduct trial”.

Hamisu Rahman, one of the protesters, told Anadolu Agency that the lawmaker should have stepped down after the Nigerian government filed corruption charges against him at a tribunal responsible for trying suspected erring public officials.

“Instead of standing down, Mr Saraki and his allies are doing everything to harass their opponents. We are totally opposed to this,” Rahman said.

The Nigerian parliament has been divided over the trial, with several lawmakers siding with Saraki.

An anti-Saraki senator Kabiru Marafa however faces possible suspension after the parliament’s ethics committee was asked to probe his recent media interview in which he faulted the lawmakers’ support for Saraki.

“The bid to investigate and suspend Senator Kabiru Marafa who has been speaking up against the senate leadership is a slap on public decency,” said Rahman.

David Abana, another protestor, said Saraki’s continuous stay in office “ridicules the entire institution of legislature”.

But supporters of the lawmaker insist he is innocent until proven guilty and so cannot be asked to resign.

Senator Saraki faces a 13-count corruption charge, which includes false assets declaration and operation of foreign accounts while he was governor of the north-central Kwara State.

Saraki said the charges were politically motivated. His efforts to quash the charges have crashed after the country’s Supreme Court said in a Feb. 5 ruling that the trial conformed to the law.

After months of legal fireworks, Saraki’s trial is scheduled to resume on March 10.

Author Rafiu Oriyomi Ajakaye

 

[Nigeria Senate Emblem by Hubert de Vries/Creative Commons]

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