Nigeria Senate Leader Denies Changing Election Rules to Win Seat

Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki pleaded not guilty to forgery charges after being accused of changing election rules to win his seat.

“These trumped up charges are only another phase in the relentless persecution of the Senate," Saraki said in a statement sent after his arraignment Monday in Abuja, the capital. Saraki also faces 13 charges of asset declaration fraud in an unrelated case. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Saraki, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, drew on support from former colleagues in the People’s Democratic Party to win the Senate leadership a year ago. He was not the preferred candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC party. Saraki has previously said the charges against him are politically motivated.

In an e-mailed response to Saraki’s statement Monday evening, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said “pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if indeed a criminal act has been committed.”

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