The Senate has asked its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate its President Bukola Saraki for alleged importation of bullet-proof car with fake Customs duty certificate.
It also mandated the committee to probe the allegation of certificate forgery leveled against Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West).
The resolution to launch the investigation followed a motion of privilege by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (Borno South).
Ndume drew the attention of his colleagues to a publication that Saraki sanctioned the invitation of the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to appear in uniform to throw light on the controversial import duty payment on old vehicles because the Service impounded his (Saraki’s) bullet-proof Range Rover Sport Utility Vehicle on the orders of Ali.
On Melaye, Ndume referred the Senate to a publication by a national newspaper that Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Ndume told the Senate that an online platform claimed Melaye did not obtain a degree in Geography from ABU, Zaria.
The Borno South lawmaker, who prayed the Senate to investigate the issues, noted that there was nothing untoward about investigating the Senate President.
He said a former Speaker of the House of Representatives Salisu Buhari was accused of certificate forgery and investigated to clear his name.
Ndume added that a former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, was also accused of corruption and investigated.
He noted that Wabara was also given opportunity to clear his name.
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari, he said, was also accused of certificate forgery and given opportunity to clear his name.
He said another presiding officer of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, was also accused and investigated to clear his name.
Ndume said: “This matter borders on our privileges. One has to do with Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President and it was reported in a paper; I have it here. The newspaper said the Senate is on vengeance after Nigeria Customs Service seized Senator Saraki’s bullet-proof Range Rover over fake documents.
“My colleagues that are following events, particularly online, have seen or heard or read the rain of abuses on this Senate and the misconception of the fact that we invited the Customs boss based on a very unpopular policy that affects the people we represent, but now we are faced with this.
“During the 4th Assembly, Salisu Buhari was accused of certificate forgery. He was investigated and determined after that. In the 5th Assembly, Bello Masari was accused of certificate forgery (secondary school). He was investigated and was cleared.
“In the 6th Senate, Dimeji Bankole was accused of not having NYSC certificate, it was investigated and he showed his NYSC certificate.
“Now, that brings me to the second matter in the National Assembly. In the 4th Assembly, Senate President Adolphus Wabara was accused of collecting a bribe and it was investigated and determined. So, a lot of precedence has been set.
“Now, the second matter of privileges affects my colleague Dino Melaye and it is in the paper today? Therefore, accordingly, I will appeal we refer the matter to Ethics and Privileges to investigate so that our colleagues would be cleared and this Senate will stand as it supposed to.”
After the plenary, Melaye described the issue Ndume raised about him as a welcome development.
The Kogi West senator noted that democracy is about investigation, where no senator is above investigation.
He said those bandying the report that he did not graduate from ABU were obsessed with him.
He said Nigerians would not be surprised that one day the same people would say he is not a Nigerian.
Melaye, however, assured he would submit himself to investigation as a law-abiding citizen of the country.
He added that as a member of the committee saddled with the responsibility to investigate him, he would excuse himself from the committee, unless invited.
Melaye, who said he would not be deterred by negative reports about him, noted that he has seven degrees already pursuing the eight one.
He said ABU would not allow him to do higher degrees, if he did not have a degree certificate.
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, asked Ndume to lay the documents he has.
Ndume submitted some newspaper publications.
Ekweremadu referred the two matters to the Senator Samuel Anyanwu-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
He gave the committee four weeks to report back.