Forgery charges dropped against head of Nigeria's senate

October 7, 2016 9:58 AM EDT

A court clerk reads the charges to Nigeria Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal at Darki Biu, Jabi Abuja, Nigeria September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

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ABUJA (Reuters) - A Nigerian court on Friday dropped charges against Bukola Saraki, president of the upper house, in which he had been accused of altering Senate rules to get himself elected.

Saraki, Nigeria's third-ranking official and a member of President Muhammadu Buhari's party, had been charged by the Abuja court along with his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, with "forging" the rules during the election process in June 2015.

Saraki was not his party's preferred candidate, but ran unopposed for the post of senate president. He had pleaded 'not guilty' to the charges earlier this year.

Saraki still faces charges of falsely declaring his assets when he was a state governor from 2003 to 2011, to which he has also pleaded 'not guilty'.

"We believe much time has been wasted in pursuing this needless case and we hope that the same treatment will be extended to other politically motivated cases," Saraki and Ekweremadu said in a joint statement.

(Reporting By Libby George, Camillus Eboh and Felix Onuah; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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