New Telegraph

Court Does Not Have Power To Stop Impeachment Of Dep Gov – Speaker

…To petition NJC over injunction granted Aiyedatiwa

The Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Olamide Oladiji has said no court has the jurisdiction to prevent lawmakers from carrying out their constitutional duties including the impeachment of Governor or Deputy Governor in conformity with the constitution of Nigeria.

Oladiji, who reacted to the order of a Federal High Court stopping the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of the State, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa said the court violated the principle of separation of power by interfering with the function of another arm of government.

Aiyedatiwa had through his lawyer, Adelanke Akinrata secured an ex-parte order of a Federal High Court stopping the lawmakers from processing with impeachment proceeding against him.

But the Speaker in his reaction said the embattled Deputy Governor jumped the gun by rushing to court to prevent impeachment that has not taken place.

In a statement, Oladiji said the State House of Assembly formally served Aiyedatiwa with the notice of allegation of gross misconduct, on Monday, 25th September 2023 within seven days after the notice was presented to the Speaker of the House of Assembly in conformity with Section 188(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said the Notice was signed by eleven members of the House which is more than one-third of the members of the House required to sign the impeachment notice under Section 188(2) of the Constitution.

The statement read “The impeachment notice contains 14 specific allegations of gross misconduct with detailed particulars to which the Deputy Governor is expected to react to not later than seven days from the day he was served. Hitherto, the House has refrained from publishing the allegations because of the need to accord the Deputy Governor the courtesy of being served with the notice, first.

“Having served the notice, and because of the massive public interest in the subject matter, the House of Assembly has formally directed that its acknowledgement copy be released to the public.

“For the umpteenth time, the House wishes to assure the general public that it would strictly follow due process of law as outlined in Section 188(1) – (9) of the Constitution.

“The House is not unaware of media reports that His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, has rushed to Court to stop the impeachment process. Media reports even claim he has secured an injunction from a certain Judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to halt the process.

“The House is shocked that rather than wait to be served with notice of the allegation of gross misconduct, and react to same as required by the Constitution, the Deputy Governor has been running from pillar to post and filing multiple suits in both at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court and the Ondo State High Courts in a bid to stop the legislative process.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the House is fully conscious of Section 188 (10) of the Constitution which clearly states that “No proceedings or determination of the panel
or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.”

“In the case of Abaribe V. Abia State House of Assembly (2022) 14 NWLR (Pt. 788) 466, the Court of Appeal emphatically stated that it was wrong for the Appellant to jump the gun by rushing to the court to stop his impeachment process on the ground of alleged breach of fair hearing when the panel to investigate and hear him had not even been constituted.

“The Court of Appeal then restated that by the provision of Section 188 (10) of the Constitution, no court has the jurisdiction at that stage to interfere in the legislative proceedings for impeachment.

‘The Supreme Court has repeatedly restated that the Court can only intervene when the procedures for impeachment have been breached. In this case, however, the Deputy Governor rushed to court even before the notice of impeachment was served on him. For the records, no procedures have been breached in any way.

“In view of these, the House has directed its team of Lawyers to investigate the purported injunction secured by the Deputy Governor and report any judicial officer who might have abused his office in granting the unconstitutional ex-parte injunction to the appropriate institution for necessary disciplinary action.

“In conclusion, the House wishes to assure the general public that it would proceed with the legislative process to a logical conclusion, but in doing so, will strictly follow the constitutional procedures.

“The House will not abdicate or compromise its sacred constitutional duty to hold elected public officers accountable, particularly where there are prima facie serious allegations of corruption and abuse of power levelled against the Deputy Governor in this case.’

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