Tue. Jul 16th, 2019

A’Ibom senatorial tussle: US rights group urges justice

A United States based global rights group, Center for Justice in Politics has urged the Nigerian senate to ensure justice by respecting court orders in respect of the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial seat in the Upper Chamber.
The group which visited Nigeria on a fact-finding mission in respect of the controversy surrounding the refusal by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to inaugurate Hon Bassey Etim as a senator representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District as ordered by a competent court of jurisdiction.
The issue had assumed an international dimension following a United Nations rights group, People’s Right to Life Development Foundation (PELDEF) request to the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States of America Congress to ban Senate President, Bukola Saraki and ten other principal members of the senate from entering the United States of America over failure to obey a four-month old judgment of a Federal high Court, Uyo which directed Saraki to inaugurate Hon Bassey Etim as the senator representing Akwa Ibom North East Denatorial District.
A statement by Bassey Etim’s media adviser, on Tuesday said that PELDEF had also copied dozens of global rights groups including Centre for Justice in Politics, with focus on legislative procedures and fighting for political justice.
The statement reads in part: “The US rights group which visited Nigeria on the fact-finding mission has, however, expressed shock over its findings, saying Saraki and the principal officers of the senate deserved to be banned from entering the US, apart from other necessary sanctions.
“The position of Centre for Justice in Politics was contained in a letter dated July 17 which represents an abstract of its executive summary report.
“The letter which was addressed to the National Secretary of PELDEF which earlier petitioned the Congressional Caucus of the US, Comrade Ali Abacha, was signed by its Vice President (Operations), Gabe Harrison.”
The letter reads in full: “As you may know, our organization, The Center for Justice in Politics (Center4JIP), is a non-profit organization based in the Atlanta area of the USA. We are primarily engaged in legislative procedures training, fighting for political justice and political consulting, in developing countries.
“This is to first acknowledge receipt of your letter, dated July 7, 2017, with the accompanying supporting documents.
“Secondly, we want to inform you that after reviewing all the supporting documents and confirming the authenticity of the High Court ruling in Uyo and the Certificate of Return issued to Mr. Bassey Etim by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, we agree that the failure to swear in Mr. Etim to the Senate is unjust and a blatant abuse of power on the part of Nigeria’s Senate President, Mr. Saraki.
“Consequently and as contained in your letter to the Black Congressional Caucus, we will disseminate this information to other like entities to secure a ban on Mr. Saraki and others from entering the USA.
“We will take other steps to seek redress for this abnormally and you will be kept abreast of our actions going forward.
“Thank you for being our partners in our struggle for justice in politics, especially in developing countries, like Nigeria,” Harrison signed off.
PELDEF said Saraki’s excuse to delay inauguration of Etim four months after a competent court of jurisdiction had so ordered was laughable because the same Saraki-led senate had obeyed similar order from the same court of jurisdiction and status to swear in senators from Kogi State.

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