The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, restrained the Zamfara House of Assembly and the Chief Judge of the state from taking steps to impeach the deputy governor of the state, Mahdi Gusau.
The judge, Obiora Egwuatu, gave the order in a ruling in an ex-parte motion with suit number, FHC/ABJ/CS/650/2021, brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its Lawyer, Ogwu Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Under the Nigerian constitution, the Chief Judge of a state is empowered to raise a panel to probe the impeachment allegations levelled against a governor or deputy governor by the state’s House of Assembly.
Bur Mr Egwuatu, in his ruling on Monday, ordered the defendants to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the PDP against the impeachment process.
The judge also stopped the House from taking actions against its other members who are still in the PDP.
He directed the plaintiff (PDP) to serve all the defendants in the suit before Friday and adjourned the matter till July 23 for hearing of the motion on notice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives, Speaker of Zamfara House of Assembly, Governor Bello Matawalle and Chief Judge of Zamfara are 1st to 7th defendants respectively.
NAN recalls that though Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara recently defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC), his deputy, Mr Gusau, did not.
The lawmakers in the state had threatened to impeach Mr Gusau over activities they considered to be a threat to the security in the state, which they claimed he was involved in.
One of the grounds of impeachment that had been reportedly touted by the House of Assembly is that the deputy governor attended a political rally earlier in the month.
The House of Assembly had already asked Mr Gusau to appear before it on July 27.
The PDP, through its lawyer, had urged the court to grant its prayer in the interest of justice.
The party said the court had the inherent power to grant the order.
“This is the only place we can run to, especially in a situation of chaos the state has found itself.”
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