IMPEACHMENT: DISQUIET AS BAYELSANS AWAITS CJ TO CONSTITUTE 7-MAN PANEL

By NBF News
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There is disquiet in Bayelsa State as the seven-days period, which the chief judge is expected to constitute the seven-man impeachment panel to investigate allegations against the Deputy Governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi draws near.

The House of Assembly had in a resolution endorsed by two-third majority on Tuesday June 8 after a motion moved by Mr. Fini Angaye and supported by Mr.Alfred Egba, requested the Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the 10 impeachable offences levelled against Ebebi.

Justice Abiri, who enjoys immense respect from stakeholders in the state because of her strict adherence to the rule of law, is a cousin to the embattled deputy governor.

There is a growing fear that the chief judge, based on her strict nature, may refuse to set up the panel because of the suit challenging the impeachment process filed by Ebebi before a Yenagoa High Court.

The suit filed on Friday by his counsel, Kemasuode Wodu and which joined the chief judge and the attorney general is asking for seven claims to stop the impeachment process.

Wodu in an interview had said the presiding Judge, Justice Naya Aganaba, did not give any order to stop the process but that, in law when people are put on notice, all parties would stay action until the determination of the suit.

But the state government in a reaction had said the chief judge had no choice but to set up the panel because impeachment process is a constitutional matter.

In a statement by the Overseer of the Ministry of Information and Orientation, Mr. Nathan Egba, the state government said the suit filed was to stop the House of Assembly and the chief judge from performing their constitutional duties.

Daily Sun investigations revealed that Justice Abiri is weighing the options before her and being cautious not to be seen as being sentimental in her choice.

According to a source close to the Bayelsa judiciary, Justice Abiri, hands are tied in this matter and she wants to ensure that whatever decision she makes concerning the setting up of the seven-man panel would not be misinterpreted by the politicians. 'If there was no suit nothing would have prevented her from constituting the panel but with the suit now, she has options and she is trying to weigh them,' the source said.

The lawmakers, according to sources close to them, said they are studying the situation and at the same time waiting for the chief judge to do her work before they unveil their next line of action.