Police Defy Court Order, Remain In Enugu Assembly Complex

EnuguThe Nigeria Police is yet to comply with the Federal High Court order, contained in an interim injunction granted in favour of the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly and, the 15 members of the House.

The court had on May 11, ordered the Nigerian Police to vacate Enugu State House of Assembly Complex and the order subsists, pending the determination of the suit brought by State Assembly Speaker, Eugene Odoh, on behalf of 15 members of the house.

The order also allowed the Speaker and the other 15 lawmakers to have access to the legislative complex, particularly the chambers.

The presiding Judge, Justice Dorcas Agishi, said since the matter was for mention, the parties should take a date for hearing, but Mr Okibe informed the court that it was a case of Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights, adding that they needed a short date for expediency of motion.

Justice Agishi then adjourned the matter to May 26 and ordered that hearing notices be served on all respondents.

Mr Okibe then noted in an interview that since the respondents have failed to bring any representation or respond to the suit, should they fail to report on May 26 as adjourned, the judge would have no choice but enter into judgment which would be delivered in their favour.

However, the police were still stationed with their vehicles at the House of Assembly Complex at Independence Layout.

Efforts to speak with the Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ebere Amaraizu, to provide reasons for their continued stay in spite of the court order was fruitless.

Enugu Impeachment: Nigeria Needs Code Of Political, Ethical Conduct – Legal Expert

ImpeachmentNigeria’s democracy cannot grow if the practitioners are not willing to be democrats.

A Legal Practitioner, Wahab Shittu, said this on Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, during a conversation on the impeachment brouhaha in Enugu State.

Fifteen out of 24 members of the Enugu State House of Assembly had on Monday commenced an impeachment process against the State Governor, Sullivan Chime, putting forward allegations of forgery, inflation of funds for state project execution and unlawful acquisition of public landed property.

The process took a different turn when eight members of the House loyal to the Governor sat, impeached the Speaker, Honourable Eugene Odoh, and shot down the House indefinitely.

Despite his impeachment by the eight members of the House, the ‘impeached Speaker’, Honourable Eugene Odoh, said that the 15 lawmakers would continue with the impeachment process on Tuesday, insisting that the Governor had been duly served.

Reading from the constitution, Mr Shittu stated that the simple interpretation of the constitution means that both factions of the Enugu House of Assembly have erred in the manner they have gone about their intentions.

While the eight lawmakers trying to protect the Governor by impeaching the Speaker cannot possibly be taken serious because they are not up to two-third of the House members, the 15 trying to impeach the Governor have also acted against the constitution.

According to him, those who have served the Governor an impeachment notice cannot proceed except from the premises of the legislative house and their impeachment notice is not binding if not served to all members of the House.

Having stated few constitutional breaches already noticed, he stated that since the 15 lawmakers have been prevented from convening in the assembly, insisting on impeaching the Governor, if done in another location, would be unconstitutional.

He also berated the Police for preventing lawmakers from gaining access into the assembly premises. He wondered why political officers should be prevented by the Police from performing their duties in a democracy when it is the duty of the Police to protect democratic institutions.

Mr Shittu would not condemn the morality of allegations from both parties but stated that it is the constitutional function of the House of Assembly to represent, make laws and perform oversight functions.

On the back of this, he maintained that all members should be allowed to enter the assembly and together decide what actions they want to take.

On the refusal of the House to approve the Governor’s request for 11billion Naira, he said; “They should consider that request only on merit,” adding that the interest of the people only should matter and not other factors like its timing.

He added also that the Nigerian Constitution needs some of its sections properly interpreted.

An example of this is the argument about what is needed to carry out a major function like the impeachment of a Speaker in the House – if it is two-thirds of the all members of the House or two-thirds of members present at the session.

Although Mr Shittu had earlier argued that the simple interpretation is that two-thirds of all members of the House is what the constitution recommends for any key decision to be binding, he suggested that a ‘code of political and ethical conduct’ be put in place to guide how politicians carry out their activities and it should be binding on every lawmaker.

He added that the constitution also needs to clarify what specific actions should amount to “gross misconduct” as the allegation has been widely used as a tool to settle scores.

Nigeria needs to strengthen two key institutions; the judiciary and the Police, Mr Shittu said, adding that “if these two institutions are strengthened and act professionally all these impunity will stop”.

Enugu Governor Served Impeachment Notice

EnuguFifteen lawmakers in Enugu State House of Assembly on Monday morning served the Governor, Sullivan Chime, impeachment notice.

The lawmakers accused the Governor of high handedness and corrupt enrichment.

Reports from Enugu say that the Governor had asked the state assembly to approve the funds for a secretariat project, but he was turned down by the state assembly.

The lawmakers refused because according to them it is less than a month to hand over to a new administration, so why would the Governor be asking for 11 billion naira.

The unapproved 11billion naira allegedly led to the power play between members of the House of Assembly and the state government.

The Governor then allegedly induced some members of the assembly with some money to impeach the House Speaker, Eugene Odoh.

Fifteen lawmakers sat on Monday morning and suspended some members who they believe are loyal to the Governor, and then collected signatories of 15 people before serving the Governor impeachment notice.

Speaker Impeached

In the meantime, the Speaker of Enugu House of Assembly, Eugene Odoh, is said to have been impeached by eight out of the 24 members of the House.

The members are believed to be those loyal to Governor Sullivan Chime.

The members who carried out the impeachment accused the Speaker of being self-centred and uncooperative.

The Governor’s Spokesman, Chukwudi Achife, said in a chat with Channels Television that Speaker Eugene Odoh, had been removed and a new Speaker elected. He dismissed the alleged plot to remove the Governor.