Impeachment: Governor Al-Makura Before Panel To Clear Allegations

Governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Al-Makura, yesterday morning, August 4, appeared before the seven-member panel set up by the Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko.

The panel is investigating the 16-count charges of impeachment levelled against Al-Makura by the State Assembly.

Governor Al-Makura arrived the sitting at 8:45 a.m. and took his seat at the conference hall at 9 a.m., when the panel sitting was scheduled to start. But the panel members arrived the venue at 9:20 a.m. and began sitting at 10 a.m.

The panel, however, adjourned sitting till Tuesday (today) to enable the lawmakers to appear before it.

Twenty of of the 24-member Assembly want the governor impeached.

During the second part of the public sitting on Monday, the governor insisted that he was not served notice of impeachment. He said he only received the notice of the sitting.

Al-Makura said that he decided to appear before the panel to clear himself of the allegations.

The governor, who stood up and raised a voluminous copy of a statement of defence, said he had already prepared a written defence that he would present to the panel.

His lead counsel, Chief Udechukwu Udechuku (SAN), called on the panel to dismiss the notice of impeachment for want of proof of the allegations. Udechukwu described nonappearance of the lawmakers as a disservice to the panel and Nigeria.

He urged the panel to enter a verdict of no-proof against the assembly members for not appearing to prove their allegations.

The SAN stated that if the accusers failed to turn up to substantiate their allegations, the panel or the court could dismiss the allegations.

The counsel further urged the panel to evoke paragraph 7 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Act to give effect to the guideline to dismiss the allegations.

According to him, there was proof that the assembly was served with the hearing notice but that it chose not to appear before the committee.

The chairman ruled that though the panel would not oppose the submission of the lead counsel, it would give the lawmakers till Tuesday (today) to appear before it.

Meanwhile, Al-Makura has asked a state High Court to quash the impeachment notice issued against him by the state House of Assembly.

The governor filed the suit before a Nasarawa State High Court in Lafia on Monday following the resumption of judicial workers from their three weeks old nationwide strike.

The governor’s lawyer, Udechuchuwu Udechukwu (SAN), who is leading Funke Aboyade (SAN) and seven others in the governor’s legal team, argued that the lawmakers failed to serve the notice of impeachment on his client as required by the constitution.

Culled from:  http://www.naij.com/70755.html

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