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Adamawa Assembly serves Gov. Nyako, deputy impeachment notice

By The Rainbow
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Governor Murtala Nyako may be the first governor to impeached under the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan if members of Adamwa State House of Assembly carry through their plan.

The house in its sitting on Wednesday, unanimously agreed to serve Governor Murtala Nyako  and his deputy, Mr Bala James Ngillari, an impeachment notice, for gross misconduct.

Not less than 19 out of 25 members of the house appended their signatures on the notice.

The governor is being accused of gross misconduct and financial recklessness.

These charges formed the plank of the motion for the impeachment of the governor moved by the member representing Numan constituency, Honourable Kwamoti Laori.

The lawmaker accused  the governor of committing the act of gross misconduct in the performance of his duties in the state.

Laori, who double as the deputy speaker of the assembly, based his submission on 20-count charges of financial misconduct by the governor, notable among which are fraudulent award of contract of over N8 billion through SNECOU Group of Companies Limited, a company linked to one of the governor's wives, to siphon public funds without delivering any services.

Others charges against the governor included siphoning of the sum of N300 million public funds through a company, Hydro Source Resources Ltd, in the name of construction of Mubi bypass, without mobilising to site.

He was also accused of gross violation of oath of office by outrageous patronage and dominance of family and friend in the discharge of government business, such as in the MDG's office, the SPPU and the Ministry of Health.

Nyako was also accused of squandering the sum of N4,805,216,538.32 and N7,114,995,590.85 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, through the office of the Secretary to the State Government against budgetary approval, and not in the interest of people of Adamawa State.

Other charges were spending of exorbitant sum of N2.5 billion as “other miscellaneous expenses”  through the Internal Affairs and Special Services Department and diversion of over N400 million out of the N500 million Federal Government intervention fund for flood victims in Adamawa State in 2011.

While moving the motion for the impeachment of the deputy governor, Ngillari, also on the ground of financial misconduct, Honourable Abdulkarim Umar  representing Narrasawo/Binyeri constituency, listed six grounds of financial misconduct.

He noted that the deputy governor committed act of gross misconduct in his performance of duties by diverting public funds to tune of N 50 million released to him by the Ministry of Finance, by instruction of the governor, to acquire licence for the exploration of solid minerals in the state.

He was also accused of extra-budgeting expenditure  to the tune of N397,311,559.05

However, this did not go down well with the supporters of Governor Nyako who staged a protest against the move.

The protesters asked assembly to rescind their earlier resolution to serve the governor with an impeachment notice.

Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama, who led another set of protesters through the police roundabout areas, through Government House road and Jimeta metropolis, said the assembly members were acting a script for the Presidency.

He queried reason for the impeachment notice now, since the assembly members were yet to complete their investigation on some ministries, parastatals and contractors.

Meanwhile, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Nyako, Mallam Ahmad Sajo, said the governor was not aware of the move, adding that it remained in the realm of a wild speculation.

But a right group under the umbrella of  “Save Adamawa State Movement” on Wednesday said the impeachment notice served on Governor Nyako by the state House of Assembly was  a welcome development and overdue.

The movement, in a press statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, noted that all the facts adduced by the legislators were key issues its members had been raising for about two years now.

The statement, signed by its  acting national coordinator, Dr Pally Poga, explained that the movement resorted to court action to let the whole world knew of Nyako's misrule and lawless governance that became legendary and thereby brought down the whole state.

SECTION 188 of Chapter 6 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, states the procedure for the impeachment of the governor of a state or his deputy, as the case may be.

According to the provision, the processes for the impeachment will begin with the serving of a notice in writing, of the allegations of a gross misconduct by the governor and signed by not less than one third of members of a state House of Assembly.

Gross misconduct, going by the interpretation of the constitution, is the euphemism for a breach of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

For the impeachment to succeed, not less than two-thirds majority of all members of the state House of Assembly must vote in favour of the report of the panel earlier set to investigate the allegations and which found him culpable of the said constitutional breaches.

The provisions of Section 188 state: “(1) The governor or deputy governor may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(2) Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the House of Assembly:-

(a) is presented to the Speaker of the House of Assembly;

(b) stating that the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified,

the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall within seven days of the receipt of the notice cause a copy thereof to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the House of Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the House of Assembly.

(3) Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the Speaker of the House of Assembly (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice), the House of the Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.

(4) A motion of the House of Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed, unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the House of Assembly.

(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Judge of State shall at the request of the Speaker of the House of Assembly appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.

(6) The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person and be represented before the Panel by legal practitioners of his own choice.

(7) A Panel appointed under this section shall -
(a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly; and

(b) within three months of its appointment report its findings to the House of Assembly.

Where the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.

(9) Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report at the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of the Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.

(10) No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating thereto shall be entertained or questioned in any court.

(11) In this section, “gross misconduct” means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the House of Assembly to gross misconduct.”