UPDATE: Nyako Impeachment: Panel submits report amidst tight security

FILE PHOTO: Murtatala Nyako, impeached governor of Adamawa state

Panel refuses to disclose content of the report.

Amidst tight security provided by soldiers wielding AK 47 assault rifles, the seven-member panel constituted by the former Adamawa Acting Chief Judge, Ambrose Mammadi,  to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the state governor,  Murtala Nyako, and his deputy, Bala Ngillari, submitted its report to the Adamawa State House of Assembly on Monday.

The panel, which commenced sitting on Friday, rounded off on Saturday, with only the complainant, the Adamawa Assembly, appearing before it. The Governor and his Deputy failed to appear.

During the public hearing, five out of the 20 allegations against the governor were abandoned, including the one on Muhammadu’s Buhari’s visit  to the state, due to lack of evidence.

The Assembly had claimed that N120 million of public funds was diverted to sponsor the “fictitious visit” of Mr. Buhari, a leader of Mr. Nyako’s All Progressives Congress, APC, to the state. The former military ruler had gone to Adamawa to commiserate with victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in Madagali and Michika Local Government Areas.

The panel, led by its chairman, Buba Kaigama, was at the state Assembly Complex at 2:20 p.m., where it presented its report to the lawmakers, who had hurriedly converged.

Mr. Kaigama said the panel had taken its time and gone over the presentations and other evidences provided by the Assembly to come out with its current position.

“The panel is submitting its report in accordance with Section 188 subsection 5 of the constitution. Despite the initial hitches, we were able to conduct our sittings and both the governor and his deputy were given the opportunity to respond which they refused,” he said.

He explained that the panel admitted six exhibits on the deputy governor and 24 on the governor.

According to him, the panel was submitting its report in four volumes; which included the letters of appointment of its members, proceedings of the panel, exhibits tendered during the proceedings, and report of the panel.

However, when asked by reporters to disclose the outcome of the investigation, Mr. Kaigama refused, saying, “The findings could not be told to you because we have submitted the report to the right channel, you can go to them.”

On the legality of the notice of appearance served on the governor and his deputy, the chairman said the panel did not default as it followed due procedure by pasting the notices of appearance at the premises of the governor and his deputy.

“We pasted it according to the law but we don’t have judicial powers to arrest them but we use alternative service.  I am not a judge but I have followed the procedures given to me,” he said.

He noted that he had nothing to fear as he believed posterity would judge him rightly, having done his best to ensure fairness to all parties.

Receiving the report, the Speaker of the Assembly, Ahmadu Fintiri, commended the panel for a job well done. He assured that the report would be looked into at an appropriate time.

However, Mr. Fintiri was later seen storming out of the Assembly premises immediately after he received the report.

Though the content of the report was not made public, sources close to the panel said it indicted Mr. Nyako and asked for his impeachment while absolving Mr. Ngillari of any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nyako has filed an appeal at the Appeal Court, Abuja, citing impropriety in the impeachment procedures adopted by the Assembly.

In the appeal, which is being handled by a human-rights lawyer, Femi Falana, Mr. Nyako is challenging the violation of the impeachment procedure as outlined in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution.

He averred that it was a violation of the law for the lawmakers not to personally serve him the notice of impeachment as enshrined in the constitution.

The governor also challenged the decision of the then acting Chief Judge of the state to set up the panel.

Mr. Mammadi had previously ordered the Assembly not to proceed with the impeachment proceedings without personally serving the governor and his deputy.

It was also gathered that some loyalists of Mr. Nyako had petitioned the National Judicial Council, NJC, to investigate the conduct of Mr. Mammadi, whose three months tenure lapsed last week, in the impeachment saga.


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