The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives on Thursday slammed the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over they “illegal and unconstitutional” impeachment of the former Kogi State Deputy, Mr Simon Achuba.
The Caucus in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja said that the event leading to the purported impeachment of Achuba as deputy governor was “offensive, grotesque and embarrassing”, calling the entire impeachment process as “a hoax”.
The statement was signed by Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Yakubu Umar Bards, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema and Muraina Ajibola respectively, called on well-meaning Nigerians to rise and defend democracy, due process and the rule of law.
The statement reads in parts: ” We watched with very keen interest recent development surrounding the embattled deputy governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Simon Achuba and we join several well-meaning Nigerians and democrats to condemn in very strong terms the purported impeachment of the deputy governor of Kogi state, which is not only baseless, but illegal, unconstitutional and a total debasement of all known democratic principles, due process and the rule of law, by members of the Kogi state House of Assembly in concert with the Kogi state government.
“Recall that Mr Simon Achuba has for over a year being at cross purposes and had a running battle with the Kogi state Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello.”
” It is interesting to note that following allegations of misappropriation of funds, noncompliance with extant financial regulations and gross misconduct against Mr Simon Achuba, a 7-man judicial panel set up by the Chief Judge of Kogi State, His lordship, the Honorable Justice Nasiru Ajana and headed by John Baiyeshea(SAN), having investigated same, found the deputy governor not guilty and accordingly exonerated him of all the allegations.”
“Curiously, moments after the panel submitted its report on Friday, 18th October 2019, the Kogi state House of Assembly led by its speaker, Mr Kolawole Mathew, proceeded to allegedly impeach the deputy governor.
“This is clearly a travesty of justice and tantamount to a criminal conduct on the part of members of the Kogi state House of Assembly as it offends the letter and spirit of S.188(8) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 ( as amended) which provides that ‘where the panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
“Equally compelling is the fact that assuming (without conceding) that the panel had found Mr Simon Achuba guilty of the allegations against him, S. 188(9) of the constitution gives the House of Assembly fourteen(14) days of the receipt of the panel’s report within which to consider the report and if by resolution supported by not less than 2/3 majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.”
The Caucus further added that the impeachment process and the “inglorious part” played by members of the Kogi state House of Assembly was a travesty of justice and tantamount to constitutional breach.