Nasarawa impeachment: Tight security as probe panel begins sitting

He said, “Once the chief judge has set up a panel of seven persons to investigate an impeachment allegation against the government under Section 188 (5) of the constitution at the request of the speaker of the House of Assembly, he lacks any authority to call for the dissolution of the panel set up by him.

“The chief judge has no constitutional power to disband the panel after setting it up under section 188 (5) of the 1999 Constitution.

“He can only disband the panel in obedience to a court order by virtue of Section 287 (1), (2) or (3) of the 1999 Constitution.”

He accused the members of the assembly of acting in bad faith.

“In the first place, they did not serve any notice of impeachment on the governor. They made no rules for the impeachment procedure and their call for disbandment of the panel was made outside the legislative chamber. What is on display is nothing short of legislative impunity,” he added.

Meanwhile, Al-Makura has described the sitting of the lawmakers on Wednesday as illegal.

The governor, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Abdulhammid Kwarra, on Thursday said the resolution of the lawmakers should be disregarded by all and sundry .

He argued that instead of directing the state chief judge to re-constitute the probe panel, the assembly should have sought a legal means of dissolving the panel.

Al-Makura said, ‘‘If the lawmakers are aggrieved with the compliance of the state chief judge with the provision of Section 188, sub-section 5, the right thing to do is for the assembly to go to the court of law to challenge the composition of the seven- man panel.’’

He condemned the lawmakers for alleging that the government sponsored thugs to prevent them from sitting in Lafia.

The governor said as far as his government was concerned, the sitting of members at Karu was a “mere congregation of the concerned members of the assembly because it falls short of democratic requirements.”

He maintained that his government was surprised that the lawmakers could probate and re-probate on a matter that is before the state chief judge.

But Ibaku faulted the governor’s criticism of the assembly’s directive to the chief judge on the investigative panel.

He said that the assembly acted in line with constitutional provisions.

While citing Section 188, sub-section 7, Ibaku said members of the panel should not belong to any political party or be in the civil service.

Ibaku alleged that two members of the panel were in the state Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, adding that two were in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, which merged with two other political parties to form the APC.

Asked if he was aware that the panel had begun sitting, he replied, “As we (lawmakers) are concerned, there is no panel and they are wasting their time; who are they going to submit their report to?

“We have directed the state chief judge to constitute another panel of investigation and if he fails to do so, he is on his own. We will not accept the outcome.”

Also reacting to the Wednesday sitting, a member of the assembly, Mr. Othman Adam, said the four APC lawmakers would seek legal means to ensure that their fundamental rights were not compromised.

Adam, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said that it was not the responsibility of the lawmakers to direct the state chief judge to dissolve the panel.

He said that the approach of the 19 PDP lawmakers was unconstitutional.

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