SaharaReporters said Tuesday it stood by its report and assured Mr. Saraki it will defend its position in any court within and outside Nigeria.
The senate president, Bukola Saraki, has denied being involved in the N60bn arms deal involving the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Saraki’s reports followed the Saharareporters’ report that accused Mr. Saraki of blackmailing the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay him and other senators N250 million as a way of covering up the arbitrary withdrawal by the NSA from the security fund approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“As Nigeria’s number three man, there is no need for him to do legal tourism by going to courts outside the country. He should believe in the system and go to any court in Nigeria,” the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, told PREMIUM TIMES.
“We are ready to meet him in any court in Nigeria.If he goes to court to challenge us outside of Nigeria, he would be using the money he has taken from the Nigerian people to pay expensive lawyers outside the shores of Nigeria whereas all the evidences of his corruption are based here in Nigeria.”
Mr. Sowore said the senate under Mr. Saraki failed to raise any concern about the extra-budgetary withdrawals, even when it knew about it, because its leaders were involved in the fraud.
Mr. Saraki, in a statement by his special adviser (media and publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, said that contrary to a report published by news website, SaharaReporters, he never had anything to do with purchase of security equipment because in his entire political career he never served in any committee or body which has any link with defence or national security.
“As a member of the Seventh Senate, Dr. Saraki was not a member of any of the committees which have oversight function on the Ministry of Defence or the intelligence and national security apparatus. If he was tagged the leader of the opposition to the Jonathan administration, how then will he be privy to arms purchases and have the influence to blackmail any government agency or institution over the release of funds,” the statement said.
Mr. Saraki said the report was a plot by SaharaReporters to tarnish his reputation, as the medium was pursuing “the singular objective of removing him from the office of the Senate President”.