By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Media Office of Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has alerted members of the public of the renewed attempts being made by forces behind his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal to muddle up the case and blackmail key individuals and groups involved directly and indirectly in the case.
In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Office stated that the forces have since the weekend preceding the resumption of the case on Friday been sponsoring various spurious allegations aimed at intimidating members of the Tribunal, lawyers, journalists, legislators, Saraki’s loyalists and aides.
“Using the same scare-mongering methods that these devious forces have employed since the commencement of the case last September, they have employed an on-line medium known for its shady and unethical reputation, SaharaReporters and another national newspaper to peddle inaccurate information aimed at prejudicing the coming case and forcing the actors in the case to take certain predetermined decisions.
” In their desperation, they have been heckling key aides and associates of the Senate President using some unidentified individuals who make phoney calls to the phone numbers of the individuals close to Dr. Saraki, trailing the movement of these associates and giving different interpretations to the actions of these associates, all in a bid to poison the minds of the public against Saraki and to muddy the waters before the case commences on March 11.
” in one of these desperate attempts, they have tried to set the tribunal members, prosecution and defence lawyers in the case against one another. Yet again, they have sought to intimidate journalists who they envisaged may be assigned to cover the case while also seeking to cause disaffection among loyalists of the Senate President.
“The people behind these machinations believe they have to intensify these external, dirty campaigns against Saraki as they see that more and more Nigerians now understand that the trial is about who occupies the office of Senate President and not about any campaign against corruption.
” We will like to recall that this same group of people, using the same set of media and style, have last year successfully forced a Federal High Court judge to withdraw from the case filed by Dr, Saraki at the early stage of the Code of Conduct case. They also blackmailed the Court of Appeal to abruptly postpone its judgement some minutes to the period scheduled for the delivery of the judgement. Similarly, they have waged a war of attrition against Supreme Court Judges shortly before the delivery of the Apex Court’s judgement on the appeal filed by the Senate President on February 5.
“In this smear campaign, the anti-Saraki forces using their allies in the media have tended to rubbish reputations built by some individuals over several decades. One of such individual was the respected former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Modibo Belgore who they falsely accused of trying to bribe judges on behalf of Dr. Saraki when nothing like that ever happened.
“We therefore call on members of the public to disregard the antics of these desperate and devilish elements. We assure all Nigerians and other observers of the Nigerian situation to be rest assured that the Senate President is ready to have his day in court. His lawyers are ready to defend his right and prove his innocence”, the statement noted.