BAYELSA DEP GOV IMPEACHED
The Bayelsa State House of Assembly, with a two-third majority yesterday impeached and removed the Deputy- Governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi from office. The lawmakers had on June 1 with a two-third majority passed a resolution to serve a notice of impeachment on Ebebi, accusing him of 10 allegations of gross misconduct.
On June 8, the House had passed a resolution directing the Speaker, Mr. Werinipre Seiabarugu to request the Chief Judge to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations. The panel headed by Mr. Donald Denwigwe had summoned Ebebi to appear before it on June 22 and 23 to respond to the allegations. But Ebebi through his counsel said he would not appear before the panel since it refused to grant his plea for adjournment of the hearing pending the determination of the suit challenging the impeachment process.
After its sitting on Wednesday, the panel members wrote their report which was immediately submitted to the House of Assembly for consideration. There were no signs that the lawmakers were going to deliberate on the report as security was light at the Assembly complex except for one police van with four armed policemen that was parked at the entrance. However, inside the chambers after about 20 minutes of the commencement of proceedings, copies of the report of the seven-man panel was distributed to members.
Seibarugu directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. P.K George to read the next item on the order paper and disclosed that it was the consideration of the seven -man investigation panel report. While reminding the lawmakers of the notice of impeachment served on Ebebi, Seibarugu informed them that he had received the report of the panel and urged them to look at it, noting that they were at liberty to adopt the report or reject it.
Mr. Franklin Otele (Yenagoa 11) moved a motion for adoption of the report and was seconded by Mr. Alfred Egba (Yenagoa 1).
Seibarugu requested for comments on the findings of the report and Mr. Jonathan Obuebite (Nembe) in his comments recalled the allegations levelled against Ebebi and moved a motion which, he said, should become a resolution of the House. His motion reads: 'Mr. Speaker, having looked and critically examined the report; I want to move that this House do take a motion and that motion should stand as the resolution of this House.
On that note Mr. Speaker, I may move that it is no longer story but a fact that on June 1, 17 members of this House of Assembly, pursuant to Section 188 sub section 2 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 signed and presented to the Speaker a notice of impeachment stating that His Excellency, the Deputy- Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of functions of his office as Deputy- Governor of Bayelsa state.
'That on the said June 1, the Speaker directed that the Clerk of the House cause a copy of the Impeachment notice to be served on the Deputy- Governor and each member of the House of Assembly. That on June 8 2010 the House having been satisfied with the serving of the notice of impeachment resolved that the allegations of gross misconduct be investigated. Consequently upon a resolution of the House, the Speaker requested the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to set up a seven-man investigation panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct contained in the notice of impeachment.
He continued: 'Upon the receipt of the Speaker's request, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State constituted the seven-man investigations panel to investigate the said allegations of gross misconduct against the Deputy- Governor on June 9 2010. At the conclusion of its investigation the panel submitted the report of investigations on 23 June 2010 for consideration. The panel, in its report stated that allegations, one, two, three, seven, eight and nine were proved as alleged and that allegations four, five and six were proved only to the extent as set out in the report, while allegation number 10 was not proved.
Having considered the report of the seven-man panel, I move that this House adopt the findings of the seven-man panel to the extent that His Excellency, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa. And he shall stand removed from office today June 24 2010 in accordance with section 188 (9) of the 1999 constitution'.
His motion was seconded by Mr. Fini Angaye (Kolokuma/ Opokuma) and at exactly 10.49 am after all the seventeen members had supported the resolution with hands vote, Seibarugu pronounced Ebebi impeached and removed from office as Bayelsa state deputy- governor.