Enugu: Ugwuanyi Assures Indigenes Of Peace, Hope And Development

governor of enugu stateThe new Governor of Enugu State, Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has assured the people of the state of continued hope, peace and development.

This is in addition to his promise to continue with the legacies of his predecessor, Sullivan Chime, and his road map for transforming the state.

The Governor made the declaration at his swearing-in as the governor of Enugu State at Dr. Michael Okpara Square, in the state.

Before Ugwuanyi was sworn in, Mr Chime had formally handed over the consolidated transition report and a copy of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In his valedictory speech, the out-going Governor, Sullivan Chime, expresses gratitude to the people of Enugu State for their support and collaboration, enjoining them to support the incoming administration.

He said God had given the people a capable leader, assuring residents of the state that the new Governor would deliver good governance.

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 State Governor Breaks Silence On Impeachment Plot

EnuguEnugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, has broken his silence on the impeachment plot against him by 15 Lawmakers in Enugu State House of Assembly, over allegations of forgery of the 2012 supplementary budget and financial misconduct.

Governor Chime, who denied forging any budget document or tried borrowing any money barely three weeks to his exit, said the latest antics of the House of Assembly is as a result of his refusal to succumb to their monetary appeals after they had approved the loan.

According to the Governor, “Since last year September, the said eleven billion naira they are raising their voices against had been long approved by the Legislators and it is the same figure that is reflecting in the approved budget that you also have in the supplementary budget, which they are now referring to as fake”.

He also says that, though, he is yet to receive any impeachment notice, the moves by the Lawmakers against him will not prevail as the constitution requires a simple two third majority, which the house, as presently constituted, would find impossible to realise.

However, the Governor moved faster than the legislators as he hurriedly gathered eight of the lawmakers, who sat, and then impeached the Speaker, Honourable Eugene Odoh, and elected a new Speaker, Honourable Chinedu Nwamba.

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 Speaker Says ‘Purported Impeachment Is A Shame To Democracy’

Eugene Odoh Speaker of the House of Assembly in Enugu StateThe Speaker of the House of Assembly in Enugu State, Honorable Eugene Odoh, has described his impeachment by eight members of the House, as a ‘shame to democracy’.

Eight lawmakers loyal to the State Governor, Sullivan Chime, sat on Monday, impeached the Speaker and shot down the Assembly indefinitely.

Their decision came after 18 out of 24 members of the House had commenced a process to impeach the State Governor, putting forward allegations of forgery, inflation of funds for state project execution and unlawful acquisition of public landed property.

The factional ‘new Speaker’, Honourable Chinedu Nwamba, said the activities of the other faction was null and void, “as the Speaker, Eugene Odoh, had been removed, with himself emerging the new speaker”.

Impunity In The Face Of Democracy

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

Mr Odoh, however, said the ‘purported impeachment’ was impunity in the face of democracy which had diminished the Enugu State House of Assembly as well as the Executive arm of government.

“I am really shocked that the Governor, who is a lawyer, could champion eight people seating down to remove a Speaker when he knows that it requires two-third. It is a shame to democracy and I am equally ashamed, as I am speaking this.

“There is nothing like removal of the Speaker. It is mere exercise in futility and they have showed the world the kind of impunity going on in Enugu State,” he said.

Mr Oboh had told Channels Television that trouble started after the House refused to approve the 11 billion Naira loan which the governor forwarded to the House on grounds that it was not morally wise and would be a burden on the incoming government, as the loan would be paid under Irrevocable Standing Payment order within three years.

Contrary to Mr Oboh’s statement, one of the eight lawmakers said that removing a principal officer in the House required simple majority.

I have Not Received Any Impeachment Notice – Enugu Governor

enugu-state-sullivan-chimeThe Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, says he has not been served any impeachment notice by members of the House of Assembly.

Addressing a press conference after few hours after news that he had been served impeachment notice by lawmakers spread, Governor Chime expressed shock over the allegation of forgery brought against him by the lawmakers.

He said the action of the lawmakers was malicious and would never see the light of day.

The governor took time to explain his activities in the service of the state and restated that he had not stolen the state’s fund and would not be daft to broach the subject of borrowing 11 billion Naira almost at the completion of his tenure.

“Spinning Lies”

According to the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, the accusation levelled against the Mr Chime was unfounded and intended to diminish the person of the Governor who by all standard had done creditably well for the state.

He said the factional House, led by Eugene Odoh, was merely struggling to justify their irrational action by spinning lies against the governor.

Fifteen out of 24 members of the Enugu State House of Assembly had earlier on Monday commenced an impeachment process, 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 the impeachment by the few members of the House, the ‘impeached Speaker’, Honourable Eugene Odoh, said the lawmakers would continue with the impeachment process on Tuesday, insisting that the Governor had been duly served.

But the factional ‘new Speaker’, Honourable Chinedu Nwamba, said the activities of the other faction was null and void, “as the Speaker, Eugene Odoh had been removed, with himself emerging the new speaker”.

He also said that the 11 billion Naira loan issue raised by Mr Oboh had long been done with and did not in any way tantamount to an impeachable offence.

Mr Odoh, however, said the ‘purported impeachment’ was impunity in the face of democracy which had diminished the Enugu State House of Assembly as well as the Executive arm of government.

He had stated that the last straw was the House’s rejection to approve the 11 billion Naira loan which the governor forwarded to the House on grounds that it was not morally wise and would be a burden on the incoming government, as the loan would be paid under Irrevocable Standing Payment order within three years.

Giving credence to the emergence of a ‘new speaker’ in the face of the present circumstance, the Deputy Leader of the House of Assembly and Chairman House Committee on Information, said “once the House becomes dissatisfied with the performance of a house officer, it required the majority members of the House to remove such an officer”.

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.

Enugu Governor-elect Promises Better Days Ahead

EnuguEnugu State Governor-elect, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has thanked the people of the state for electing him, promising better days ahead when he assumes office.

Presenting his acceptance speech at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Office at Independence Layout in Enugu the capital city, the governor-elect thanked the party men and women, and the leadership of the party at the national, state and local government levels.

He expressed gratitude to the elder statesmen in the like of former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, former governors and the state incumbent governor, Sullivan Chime, and the entire Enugu State for their support.

Mr. Uguwanyi affirms his commitment to seeing through the legacy of the four-point administrative blue print of the present government, noting that he would usher in his own new agenda which include, employment generation, social services , good governance, rural development, security and justice.

He further praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a free and fair poll, adding that he is happy that his election had been widely acknowledged as transparent and credible, devoid of violence and crisis.

The state residents who defied the heavy rain of April 11 in Enugu to vote for the Mr. Ugwuanyi, however, made known their expectations in the area of employment, education and social amenities.

They also said they wanted the incoming government to address the environmental challenges on Mmiriocha Bridge in Abakpa Nike, where wastes and erosion are threatening the neighbourhood.

Court Reserves Judgment In Gov Chime’s Appeal

Sullivan_chimeThe Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has reserved for judgement an appeal filed by the Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, challenging the judgment of Justice Kazeem Alogba of a Lagos High Court.

Gov Chime had instituted a N1.5 billion libel suit against his opponent in the 2007 gubernatorial election, Chief Okechukwu Ezea and The Guardian Newspapers Limited.

In his statement of claim, Chime accused Ezea of addressing a press conference on or about August 11, 2007, attended by numerous representatives of the press in Abuja, where he allegedly accused Chime of wanting to kill him.

The governor submitted that his personal and leadership reputation had been seriously damaged, adding that he had suffered considerable distress and embarrassment.

He therefore demanded N1 billion as damages from Ezea and N500, 000 from The Guardian, being damages for the alleged libelous publication contained on page seven of the newspaper dated August 14, 2007.

But, Justice Alogba had dismissed the suit and awarded a cost of N100, 000 in favour of the two defendants.

Dissatisfied, the governor filed an appeal against the decision of the lower court.

At the resumed hearing of the appeal on Tuesday, the appellate court presided over by Justice Rita Pemu reserved the appeal for judgement after counsel on both sides adopted their briefs of arguments.

Counsel to the governor, Fred Onuobia urged the court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgement of the lower court.

He submitted that the lower court judge erred in law when he held that his client failed to prove that his opponent, Chief Ezea uttered the defamatory statements complained of at the Abuja Press Conference on August 7, 2007.

He argued that the lower court in its judgement jettisoned and attached no weight to a Vanguard Newspaper publication of the libel on the grounds that Vanguard unlike the Guardian Newspapers limited was not sued as the printer and publisher of the defamatory statements.

He further submitted that the lower court erred when it held that the words published in The Guardian newspaper were incapable of defaming the governor.

In his brief of argument however, the opposing counsel Dr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgement of the lower court.

War On Terror: South East Governors Reassure Jonathan Of Support

jonathan_goodluckGovernors of Nigeria’s south eastern states have reassured President Goodluck Jonathan of their support at a time when pressure seems to be mounting on him following the spate of insurgency in the northeast.

The governors gave the assurance during a meeting held with President Goodluck Jonathan in the Presidential Villa.

In attendance were the governor of Abia State, Mr Theodore Orji, Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, that of Ebonyi State, Mr Martins Elechi and the governor of Anambra State, Mr Willie Obiano.

The meeting which commenced at about midday lasted for about an hour.

First to come out from the meeting was the Anambra State Governor, Mr Willy Obiano, who told reporters that they were in the state house to reassure the President of their support.

On the recent development in Owerri, the Imo State capital, where a bomb was discovered at a church, Mr Obiano told reporters that the southeast governors were on the alert and would never allow Boko Haram to penetrate the South East.

The terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in the the north east. Military operations have been intensified in the area in a bid to rid it of the insurgents that are calling for an Islamic state and an end to western education.

 

Revealed: I Suffered Depression From Chime’s Treatment – Fmr. Enugu First Lady

Clara Chime.Wife of the Enugu State Governor, Clara Chime, has finally broken her silence in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, as she recounted her ordeal in the hands of her husband.

As Governor Sullivan Chime’s wife, she was in the public eye for about 5years. She has however been in the news recently because of the controversy surrounding her life in the Government House of Enugu State.

Things fell apart when she reached out to some members of the human right community and legal practitioner, Femi Falana, to save her from her husband.

Her appeal generated reactions from Nigerians and the civil society with several accusations, most of which bothered on unlawful detention and violence against women, given the physical and psychological suffering she was reported to be facing.

In this exclusive video, while recounting her experience, she also debunked claims that she had mental problem.

She said: “I suffered from depression and the treatment I got from my husband led to it.”

She also thanked Nigerians for coming to her rescue, expressing her joy that she is “now liberated.”

 

 

Groups Ask UN To Investigate Detention Of Mrs Clara Chime

Two civil society groups, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Women Advocate Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) have petitioned Mr. El Hadji Malick SOW, Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, asking him “to urgently investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mrs Clara Chime, by her husband, Mr Sullivan Chime who is the governor of Enugu State of Nigeria.”

The groups requested the Chair-Rapporteur to “issue an urgent appeal to the governor and the Nigerian government to release her from unlawful detention without further delay.”

According to the groups, “The continuing restriction and violation of Mrs Chime’s rights also constitutes violence against women especially given the physical and psychological suffering she is currently facing.”

In the petition dated 8 November 2013 and sent through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office, Mrs Navi Pillay, the groups said that, “Mrs Chime is not known to have committed any criminal offence, and the deprivation of her liberty has continued to affect her physically and emotionally, as well as seriously undermine her other internationally recognized human rights. This deprivation and compulsory confinement is not in conformity with international human rights standards, and cannot be justified under any circumstances whatsoever.”

“By restricting the movement of Mrs Chime and limiting her right to liberty, we strongly believe that her internationally recognized right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including the right to medical care in functioning public health and healthcare facilities, is seriously being violated,” the groups also stated.

According to the groups, “We believe that the importance given to the “underlying determinants of health”, that is, the factors and conditions which protect and promote the right to health of individuals, shows that unless other rights like the right to liberty, freedom of movement and the principle of non-discrimination, the right to health can be compromised.”

The petition signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni for SERAP, and Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi for WARDC, also stated that, “The rights to liberty and to health are necessary for a life in dignity. This right is clearly recognized under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights both of which Nigeria has ratified. In its 1946 Constitution, the World Health Organization (WHO), defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

According to the groups, “The right to health includes the right to a system of health protection, to prevention, and treatment and access to essential medicines. The “underlying determinants of health” include freedom of movement and liberty, the right to be free from non-consensual medical treatment, and to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”