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Anxiety in Adamawa as impeachment panel finds Nyako guilty •Lawmakers meet today

By News Express on 14/07/2014

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Anxiety has gripped Adamawa State in North-West Nigeria following indications that the fate of Governor Murtala Nyako may have become sealed.

There were indications last night that the panel raised by the Adamawa State House of Assembly to probe the allegations of misappropriation of funds by both men indicted Nyako. The panel is expected to submit its report to the state House of Assembly today, after which the lawmakers will start consideration of the report.

A top government official, who is privy to the work of the seven-man panel confided last night that the report concluded that Nyako was guilty and should be removed but did not indict his deputy, Bala Ngilari.

The source said: “What we have is that the panel has already passed a guilty verdict on the governor but we have not heard anything concerning the deputy governor.

“In any case, the verdict of the panel, which was set up under duress is not surprising to the governor since we had already known and seen their handwriting on the wall before they began their work.”

Reports say that Nyako’s camp has been thrown into confusion with the indictment by the panel. Nyako’s only hope of survival now hinges on spirited efforts being made by his loyalists to ensure that the impeachment protagonists do not get the required two-thirds majority to remove him from office.

The governor’s camp had been gripped by fear following the inability of Nyako and his loyalists in Yola and Abuja to persuade majority of the state House of Assembly members to back out of the impeachment move against him.

It was learnt that despite several meetings between the governor and the aggrieved lawmakers, the governor’s camp could not secure the support of many members to stop his impeachment.

The House, which is made of 25 members, requires at least 17 members to be able to oust the governor.

It was not clear as last night if the 19 members of the House, who signed the impeachment notice against the governor would still stand by their signature and remove him when the impeachment voting is conducted.

The PDP stakeholders in Adamawa and Abuja are in favour of the probe panel giving the deputy governor, Ngilari, who showed absolute loyalty by staying back in the party when Nyako left for the APC, a clean bill of health so that he can take over and run the state till next year.

Apparently expecting the worst, Nyako is said to have already filed an appeal at the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court against the procedure adopted by the House of Assembly to impeach him.

In the appeal, which is being handled by a fiery Lagos-based lawyer, Nyako is challenging the violation of the impeachment procedure as outlined in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution.

In the main, the governor is claiming that it was a violation of the law for the lawmakers not to personally serve him the notice of impeachment as enshrined in the law but went ahead with the proceedings without satisfying the vital condition.

Similarly, the governor is challenging the decision of the acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ambrose Mammadi, who had ordered the House of Assembly not to proceed with the impeachment proceedings without personally serving the governor and his deputy only for him to reverse himself by setting up a probe panel a day after.

It was also gathered that some loyalists of Nyako had petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC), to investigate the action of the Adamawa CJ over his conduct in the impeachment saga.

Section 188 (1-11) of the 1999 Constitution has this to say regarding the procedure for the removal of a governor and his deputy: “A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly.

“Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions of this section, 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 opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, investigate the allegation as provided in this section.

“The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the panel by legal practitioner of his own choice.

“A panel appointed under this section shall (a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly; and (b) within three months of its appointment, reports its findings to the House of Assembly.

“Where the panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.

“Where the report of the panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less, than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.

“No proceedings or determination of the panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.

“In this section, ‘gross misconduct’ means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion in the House of Assembly to gross misconduct.”

•Partly based on reports from Vanguard and The Nation. Photo shows embattled Governor Nyako.

Source News Express

Posted 14/07/2014 12:26:13 PM


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