A group, Enugu Rescue Group, has asked the National Judicial Council, NJC, to investigate the role played by the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Umezulike, in Tuesday’s impeachment of the state deputy governor, Sunday Onyebuchi.
The group also asked Mr. Onyebuchi to challenge his impeachment in a court of competent jurisdiction as did a former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi about seven years ago.
The deputy governor was on Monday impeached by the State House of Assembly about a month after the legislature served him an impeachment notice.
It accused Mr. Onyebuchi of operating commercial poultry at official residence and also disobeying the instructions of Governor Sullivan Chime.
The seven-member panel headed by Franklin Oraekeiyi found him guilty of the charges.
In a statement on Monday by its spokesperson, Martin Okenwa, ERG said apart from probing Mr. Umezulike’s role in the chicken impeachment scandal, but also urged the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, to impose the necessary sanctions on its members that served on the panel.
It said the lawyers, namely Franklin Oraekeiyi (Chairman), Maxwell Eze, Anthony Iguh, and Fabian Uluakanwa, who is also a pastor brought the Bar “to disrepute through their kangaroo conduct and verdict.”
The group condemned the impeachment of the deputy governor, describing it as “a travesty of democracy, glorification of sadism, and ratification of political terrorism.”
It noted that though the abuse of the democratic instrument of impeachment by Mr. Chime and the Enugu State House of Assembly did not come to it as a surprise, it was clear they rode on the crest of the reign of impunity established by the administration “in which right is wrong, might is right, and the innocent is always guilty.”
The group stated further, “We would therefore have been surprised if the outcome had been different, given the character and antecedents of the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Innocent Umezulike and the kangaroo panel he set up.
“We had warned from the outset that the Panel’s composition, affiliations, body language, haste, and ban of the media from its proceedings were clear signs that the Governor, the House of Assembly, the Chief of the State, and Panel members were in league for a predetermined outcome.”
The group however commended Mr. Onyebuchi for his bravery in standing his ground rather than throwing in a resignation.
It stated that the impeached deputy governor had done great justice to the nation’s democracy and helped to confirm to the world that in Enugu, impunity is the watchword and justice is has no place to lay its head.
The group said, “It is clear to the world that he was not impeached because he committed any offence or did anything near in ranking to a Governor whom illegally detained the First Lady of a State, but because absolute power corrupts absolutely, while bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.”