"Obanikoro is innocent until proven guilty" - Senate Spokesman

The spokesman for the Senate in Nigeria on Wednesday said that the confirmation of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro was in line with the provisions of the law and the responsibility of the Senate.

After a push by members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Senate to stop the confirmation of the Minister failed, the APC Senators walked out and held a press conference, telling reporters that the decision of the Senate to confirm the former Minister of Defence was a disappointment.

They alleged that the Minister had a case to answer, citing allegations against him and his involvement in the alleged rigging of the Ekiti State governorship election.

The Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, who is a member of the APC, said that the opposition party had objected the nomination of Senator Obanikoro, but lamented that the Senate President and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Senate took advantage of their numbers to override the process.

But the spokesman for the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said although there were allegations against Senator Obanikoro, there was no court decision, condemning Senator Obanikoro for any crime.
“Well, what we know as a matter of fact is that there were allegations against Senator Musiliu Obanikoro

“But in our law and the Constitution of Nigeria, anything that is a mere allegation, that is not in any way a court decision, is nothing but a mere allegation and every citizen of Nigeria is deem to be innocent until proven guilty.
And even the Senators, who addressed the press conference and spoke about the qualification and non-qualification of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro are enjoying this privilege because some of them have EFCC cases and they are still in the Senate because of this privilege of being innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

Senator Abaribe said that the APC Senator’s statement was an attempt to convict somebody when the person had not been convicted in a court of law.
“They cannot enjoy that privilege themselves and sit in this senate and then turn around and say that somebody else cannot enjoy that privilege.

“And the laws of Nigeria is very clear. You are innocent until you are proven guilty and that is what played out on the floors of the Senate.
The senate in its wisdom, having known that this is the law of Nigeria and this is the Constitution of Nigeria, and that every Nigerian is entitled to this privilege, went ahead to do what it is supposed by law to do which is confirmation of somebody that is on the floor of the Senate who has not been convicted of anything,” he stressed.

Credit: Channels