Law News
Impeachment: Court grants ex-Ondo deputy gov urgent hearing

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday granted an application by a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, seeking urgent hearing in fundamental rights enforcement suit he filed to challenge his impeachment.

Olanusi was impeached on April 27, 2015 by the Ondo State House of Assembly, after being pronounced guilty of gross misconduct by a seven-man investigative panel, headed by Mr. Olatunji Adeniyan.

On Monday, Justice Mohammed Idris granted Olanusi’s application for urgent hearing after his lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, had argued that the suit would be overtaken by events and become academic if it was not so heard.

Ogungbeje had told the court that though the case was filed before the Akure Division of the Federal High Court, it had to be transferred to Lagos as the presiding judge in Ondo State, Justice I.N. Sanni, had proceeded on vacation which would last till September.

Idris, after hearing Ogungbeje, granted Olanusi’s application for urgent hearing and adjourned further proceedings till August 3.

Olanusi is seeking an order quashing the proceedings and the report of the Adeniyan-led seven-man impeachment panel which recommended him for impeachment.

He is also seeking an order nullifying his removal as the Ondo State Deputy Governor by the state House of Assembly on April 27, 2015.

The former deputy governor, through his lawyer, Ogungbeje, is contending that “the sitting, conclusion of proceedings and submission of report by the panel within one day” denied him of his right to fair hearing, as enshrined in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

He is seeking a declaration that “the failure of the 1st respondent to oblige the applicant adequate time and facility, as guaranteed under the Constitution, to defend the allegation of misconduct is a breach of his right to fair hearing and fair trial as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.”

He also alleged that the Adeniyan-led panel failed to personally serve him with the notice of the allegation of misconduct and thus, urged the court to declare the notice as null and void.

The two respondents in the suit are Adeniyan and the Inspector General of Police.

In a six-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the suit, the deponent, one Oladimeji Temitope, said, “The rules of natural justice were not observed by the respondents in the proceedings of the 1st respondent and the removal of the applicant as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

“The applicant was shamefully removed and disgraced out of office without fair hearing, regard for due process of law and the sanctity of the law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The applicant’s right to fair hearing and fair trial have been unfairly and oppressively trampled upon by the respondents.”

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