Barristers & Solicitors
Court Temporarily Stops Moves to Impeach Edo Deputy Gov Shuaib
Court Temporarily Stops Moves to Impeach Edo Deputy Gov Shuaib

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and others, to halt their alleged bid to impeach the State Deputy Governor, Comrade Phillip Shuaib over alleged infractions.

The order was sequel to an application filed by Shuaib praying the court to stop the alleged move by Obaseki to remove him as deputy governor.

Specifically, the court directed the parties in the suit to maintain “Status Quo Ante Bellum”.

While Shuaib is the plaintiff/applicant in the suit dated July 25, and filed by Chief Ogwu Onoja, SAN, the Inspector General of Police (IG), State Security Service (SSS), Obaseki, Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly and the Chief Judge, Edo State are 1st to 5th defendants respectfully.

The order for the status quo ante bellum, a Certified True Copy (CTC) dated August 4, and cited by our correspondent is to be in force till the time the defendants shall show cause as directed by the court in its earlier ruling issued on July 27, 2023.

By the order of ‘status quo ante bellum’, parties are to remain in the positions they were before Shuaib’s suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/1027/2023 was instituted against the defendants.

At Thursday’s proceedings, the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly was represented by his counsel, Okotie Eboh while the Chief Judge was represented by Francis Ogbe, who both had opposed the granting of Shuaib’s request.

Meanwhile, the court had adjourned hearing till August 10, just as it ordered the plaintiff to serve hearing notices on the IG, SSS and Obaseki who were not represented in court.

Shaibu, in his originating summons prayed the court to determine whether in view of the provisions of Sections 186 and 193 of the 1999 Constitution, Governor Obaseki has power to instigate the IG and SSS to harass, intimidate, molest and prevent him from accessing his office to carry out his constitutionally guaranteed duties.

He also asked the court to ascertain whether the governor has power to instigate the Speaker and the Chief Judge to commence impeachment proceedings against him with a view to remove him from office on any other ground other than allegations of misconduct as contained in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution.

The Deputy Governor further prayed the Court to decide whether in view of the provisions of Section 193 of the 1999 Constitution, Obaseki can deliberately refuse to carry him along or informing him of the State Executive Council (SEC) Meeting or any other meetings or functions within and outside Edo State without violating the express provision of the law.

Upon positive resolutions of the issues in his favour, Shuaib asked the court to declare that the IG, SSS and Obaseki lacked power to intimidate, harass, embarrass or molest him.

He also sought the court’s declaration that Obaseki, Speaker and the Chief Judge lacked power to impeach him on any ground other than gross misconduct and that the Speaker and the Chief Judge at the same time, lacked requisite power to set up a 7-Man panel of Inquiry on the same ground.

Among others, Shuaib requested for order of injunction restraining the IG, SSS and Obaseki and their agents and privies from harassing, embarrassing,, intimidating and preventing them from stopping him to carry out his legitimate functions.

He further prayed for an order of injunction restraining Obaseki, Speaker and Chief Judge from taking any action, plan or step on the impeachment plan and another order specifically stopping the Chief Judge from taking instructions from Obaseki and the Speaker to set up any panel of Inquiry for the purpose of impeaching him.