Law News
Court rules on Nyako’s impeachment September 30

A Federal High Court has  fixed September 30, 2014  to give judgement in a suit challenging the impeachment of a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako.

Justice Okon Abang fixed the date on Thursday after the parties represented had adopted their processes and canvassed arguments.

The suit marked  FHC/L/CS/1180/14, was filed by a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogunbeje.

In the suit, the applicant was seeking among other reliefs, an order of the court to compel the acting Governor of Adamawa State, Umaru Fintiri, to vacate office with immediate effect while Nyako is reinstated to the office.

Joined as the first to sixth defendants in the suit are the Adamawa State Acting Governor, Fintiri, the Adamawa State House of Assembly, the outgone Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Mammadi, Chairman of the impeachment panel, Buba Kajama, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

When the case was called on Thursday, counsel for the applicant, Mr. Nelson Okedinachi, told the court that he had yet to receive the reply of  the 5th respondent, INEC.

The court had at the previous sitting ordered all the respondents to file and serve their replies on the applicant latest by 3pm on Monday.

Okedinachi said he was however ready to proceed irrespective.

In response, counsel for the INEC, Mrs. F.O. Tairu said though they were constrained to serve the reply by 3pm on Monday as the court had ordered, they made effort to do so very early on Tuesday but the applicant frustrated their effort to serve the reply on them.

But Okedinachi went on to argue that the respondent’s position was not correct, saying that they were only complaining because the applicant had refused to join them in flouting the order of the court.

Okedinachi argued that since the applicants had filed out of time, the court should consider all their submissions as null and void.

The respondents however argued that the fact that the court had earlier given them the grace to reply on Monday had overtaken Okedinachi’s argument.

Justice Abang, while adjourning the matter for judgement, held that only applications filed in line with the rules of the court would be considered.

Nyako was dismissed as the Governor of Adamawa State on July 15, 2014 after  the state’s House of Assembly adopted the report of a seven-man investigation panel which indicted him of 16 counts of gross misconduct.

Fintiri, who was then Speaker of the House of Assembly, had since been sworn in as the acting Governor in Nyako’s place.

But Ogungbeje is contending that the process which led to Nyako’s impeachment was unconstitutional as the ousted governor was not personally served with the impeachment notice by the House of Assembly.

According to the  lawyer, the failure of the Adamawa State House of Assembly to serve Nyako personally with the impeachment notice had occasioned a violation of Nyako’s fundamental right to fair hearing as enshrined under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

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