THE federal government on Friday, October 7, withdrew the forgery charges it instituted against Bukola Saraki, Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, his deputy, and two others.
Aliyu Umar, SAN, lead prosecuting counsel, told Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Jabi division of the high court of the Federal Capital Territory, the trial judge, that the charges were being withdrawn because of a pending case related to the charges before the federal high court in Abuja.
He said: “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.”
The case before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the federal high court in Abuja which was referred to by Umar was a civil case filed by Gilbert Nnaji, a serving senator, 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, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, Paul Erokoro, SAN, and Joseph Daudu, SAN.
Eventually, Halilu struck out the case and discharged all the four accused.
— Oct 7, 2016 @ 14:00 GMT