Fresh Plot By Nasarawa Assembly Lawmakers to Impeach Al-Makura Illegal – Falana
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has described the fresh moves being initiated by the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, to impeach the governor. Tanko Al-Makura, as illegal.
The lawyer said in a statement on Sunday that under the constitution, the House of Assembly lacked the power to raise the same allegations against the governor having been earlier exonerated of the same accusations by an impeachment panel.
Falana also described as illegal the decision of the House of Assembly to request a vacation judge to set up fresh impeachment panel against Al-Makura as lawless.
He said, “The seven-member panel set up by the Chief Judge of Nasarawa State to investigate the allegations of impeachable offences leveled against Governor Tanko Al-Makura has concluded its assignment.
“Since the House of Assembly ignored the directive of the panel to substantiate the allegations against the governor panel dismissed them. Once the governor has been exonerated by the impeachment panel no further proceedings shall arise from the allegations by virtue of section 188(8) of the Constitution.
“However, completely dissatisfied with the clean bill of health given to Governor Al-Makura by the impeachment panel the House of Assembly of Nasarawa State, the House has decided to request the vacation judge to set up another panel to re-investigate the allegations which had been dismissed in favour of the governor.”
Falana said only a Chief Judge of a state had the power to constitute an impeachment panel against a governor, adding that a vacation judge could not serve as an appellate court over the decision of the earlier impeachment panel.
He said, “It is pertinent to point out that apart from the Chief Judge of a state no other judge is permitted to set up an impeachment panel under the Constitution.
“Neither can a panel set up by a vacation judge be turned into an appellate chamber to review the proceedings and decisions of the impeachment panel set up by the chief judge in exercise of his exclusive powers under the Constitution.”
He cautioned the Nasarawa State House of Assembly to desist from going ahead with the fresh impeachment moves as that amounted to a clear violation of the constitution.
Falana said, “In the light of the foregoing, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly should be cautioned to desist from delibetately violating the clear provisions of the Constitution. As the legislators are stopped from raising any of the issues which formed the subject matter of the impeachment charges which had been dismissed by the panel they should be restrained from engaging in further acts of impunity.
“Furthermore, it is ultra vires, illegal and unconstitutional on the part of a vacation judge to usurp the powers of the Chief Judge by setting up an impeachment panel.”
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