The end to the political career of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, might not be too far, as the Federal Government’s Prosecuting Counsel, Muhammadu Diri, on Monday, June 27, vehemently opposed the motion of granting him bail on self-recognition.
Sources averred that the intention was to remand Ekweremadu in Kuje prison, with stringent bail condition, thereby paving a way for smooth change of the senate leadership.
Post-Nigeria learnt that Senator Ali Ndume, who is the Senate Majority Leader, has been strategically positioned to take over Ekweremadu’s position in the interim, until another election is conducted.
Justice Yusuf Haliru, of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, had on Monday, granted bail to those implicated in the controversial Senate Rule book forgery scandal.
They include: Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, Salisu Maikasuwa, former clerk of the National Assembly, and Benedict Efeturi, clerk of the National Assembly.
The Judge held that the essence of bail was to enable an accused person to stand trial.
However, he ordered that the defendants were to provide two reasonable sureties, who must be Nigerians and who must own properties in Abuja, the failure of which, they would be remanded in Kuje prison, Abuja.
Paul Erokoro, Saraki’s counsel, had asked the court to grant his client bail on self-recognition.
He said that Saraki, being the Senate President, was “too big” to run away from trial.
“The entire proof of service did not mention the third defendant (Saraki) in this case. The police never investigated the third defendant,” he said.
“It is a notorious fact that the third defendant has been standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, so it is ridiculous to say he will run away.
“He is the President of the Senate, where will he run to? He is too big to hide. I urge your lordship to grant him bail on self-recognition”.
Making his submission, Joseph Daodu, counsel to Ekweremadu, also prayed the court to grant his client bail on self-recognition.
“The third and fourth (Ekweremadu) defendants, are number one and two citizens of the legislature. It is shameful we are denting our democracy this way,” he said.
“We are ready for trial even today, so we urge your lordship to grant the fourth defendant bail”.
Also, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, counsel to Maikasuwa, asked the court to grant his client bail, saying that he was ready to stand trial.
“The essence of bail is to secure the attendance of the defendant. Throughout the period of investigation the defendant was never detained,” he said.
“Attendance to court is the primary objective of bail. We urge the court to grant the application”.
On his own part, Mahmud Magagi, counsel to Efeturi, asked the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
”This application is seeking an order admitting the second defendant to bail pending the determination of the case,” he said.
“We urge your lordship to grant the second accused person bail on liberal terms”.
However, counsel to the Federal Government, said that the court could go ahead to grant Saraki bail on self-recognition, but “vehemently” opposed the bail applications of the other accused persons.
”The prosecution doesn’t want to oppose the bail application of Bukola Saraki, because he is the Senate President. We don’t want to create a vacuum in the legislature,” he said.
“But we vehemently oppose the bail applications of the fourth (Ekweremadu), first (Maikasuwa) and second (Efeturi) defendants. The three defendants evaded the process of service. The three defendants if granted bail, may evade trial”.