LAFIA – The Nasarawa State Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko may have ignored the directives of the state House of Assembly asking him to disband the seven-man panel he constituted to investigate Governor Tanko Al-Makura.
The development appears to be the decisive factor as the seven-member impeachment panel held its inaugural meeting yesterday intent upon drawing up modalities and operational framework that would guide its activities within the constitutional 3 months it had to conduct its investigation.
Addressing newsmen after their sitting at the premises of the state Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs yesterday, the chairman of the Panel, Alhaji Yusuf Shehu Usman (Mni) said: “We have held our inaugural meeting today and mapped out our schedules on how we intend to carryout the investigation as vested on us by the constitution”.
He explained further that the schedule had to do with choice of venue, our meetings and other modalities for deliberations, adding that their sittings would be conducted as public sessions and not behind closed doors as earlier thought.
Alhaji Usman stressed further that any party might “wish to represent themselves personally or by legal practitioners of their choice”.
There are also rumours making rounds in the state over purported summoning of the CJ by the National Judicial Council (NJC) owing to a petition alleging constitutional breach in the constitution of the investigative panel was unfounded.
Contrary to insinuations, investigations revealed that both the premises of the NJC and the Supreme Court were under lock and key owing to the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN). In addition the Supreme Court was said to be on break till September, casting further shadows on the claims.
Rumours of the CJ’s summoning and possible suspension generated intense public interest in the state with many already expressing exasperation over PDP’s arm-twisting disposition towards political opponents and those who did not serve their greedy interests.
Nasarawa govt berates assembly over call for dissolution of probe panel
Meanwhile, Nasarawa State Government has criticised the purported resolution passed by the Nasarawa State House of Assembly directing the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Suleiman Dikko, to reconstitute the recently inaugurated Panel to investigate the alleged gross misconduct levelled against Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura.
According to him, Section 188 (subsection 5) of the 1999 constitution as amended, states that the Chief Judge of the state shall at the request of the Speaker of the House of Assembly appoint a panel of seven persons “who in his own opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party”.
The Assembly in its resolution was contesting that Mohammed Sabo Keana is a registered member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Rev. Joel A. Galadima is a member of the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board whose appointment on the Panel was therefore flawed.
Nasarawa State government was of the opinion that the Assembly could probate and re-probate on a matter that was before His Lordship, the Chief Judge of the state.
On the contrary, the statement pointed out that “should the members of the state House of Assembly be aggrieved with the compliance of the Chief Judge of Nasarawa State to the provision of section 188 sub-section5, the right thing to do is for the House to go to the court of law to challenge the composition of the investigative panel”.
The state government also drew attention to the fact that the sitting of the House in Karu local government was not in conformity with any democratic requirement because no rule of the House permitted the sitting of the Assembly anywhere in the state to conduct legislative affairs, adding that the sitting “is therefore ill-motivated, illegal and of no effect whatsoever”.
More so the Supreme Court has made a definitive declaration that the House of Assembly can only conduct its legislative functions in legally designated place in the state capital (Balonwu Vs Obi 2007 NWLR PT1008/488),” the government explained.