Governor Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has called for the dismissal of the impeachment charges levelled against him by the State Assembly. The governor faces 16-count charges bordering on alleged gross misconduct and financial misappropriation
Mr. Al-Makura, through his counsel, Noruka Udechukwu, stated his position when he appeared before the seven-member panel constituted by the State Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko. The panel sat at the hall of the state ministry for local government.
Mr. Al-Makura’s counsel, Mr. Udechukwu, argued that the State Assembly failed to appear to present its case before the panel despite a guideline which mandates it do so.
Mr. Udechukwu, who hinged his argument on section seven, paragraph (C) of the guideline of procedure as created by the panel, said it is a great disservice by members of the Assembly to refuse to honour the panel’s invitation.
“It is a great abuse of process by the state assembly for refusing to appear and even authenticate service. It is a disservice to our constitution, to the panel and Nigeria”.
“I urge the panel to take cognizance of section 7 paragraphs (C) which stipulates that where the House of Assembly fails or neglects to appear and lead evidence in proof of allegations, the panel upon proof
of service may dismiss the allegation”.
Mr. Al-Makura arrived at the panel’s sitting venue at about 9.12 a.m. and waited for over 30 minutes before members of the panel arrived.
He told the panel that he was not served with the impeachment notice by the lawmakers and that his appearance before the panel was due to the hearing notice served him by it. He, however, said he had already prepared his defence.
Perhaps due to the governor saying he was not served with any impeachment notice, Mr. Al-Makura was not asked any questions on the allegations by the lawmakers; and he did not attempt to respond to any.
The chairman of the panel, Yusuf Usman, said the panel had to put up a guideline for its sitting because it was not provided with such rules as provided under section 188(7)(b) of the Nigerian constitution. The chairman, who read out 11 guidelines, said that in the opinion of the panel, the Chief Judge was no longer in control and as such cannot revert to him for such rules.
“It was inexpedient to revert to the Chief Judge on the issue of the rules of procedure as the Hon. Chief Judge in the opinion of the panel was no longer in control of the panel”. Mr. Usman said the panel had given the Assembly till 9 a.m. on Tuesday to appear before it. The Nasarawa lawmakers have, however, restated their stance not to appear before the panel.
The House Committee Chairman on Information, Baba Ibaku, said thatthe lawmakers will not appear before the panel because of what he described as the alleged constitutional breach by the chief judge, Suleiman Dikko, in the composition of the panel. “I have said earlier that this panel is on its own.
They are just a busy body. If the governor likes, let him appear and present his response but the report will not be submitted to the assembly, it is a panel of the CJ (Chief Judge),” Mr. Ibaku said. The 24-member Nasarawa Assembly is dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which has 20 members while Mr. Al-Makura’s All Progressives Congress has four lawmakers.