Ntufam Mba Ukweni, Senior Advocate of Nigeria has said that Kogi State House of Assembly members have acted ‘stupidly’ in violation of provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Speaking with on Tuesday, Ntufam regretted the action of the members in regards to the impeachment of the Deputy Governor, Mr Simon Achuba.
He said it was wrong for the House to proceed further when a panel constituted by the Chief Judge of that State found nothing wrong with the deputy governor.
“They no longer have powers to proceed further, the House of Assembly did not follow due process, court has the power to review what was done by the House of Assembly with a view to determining whether they follow the due process.
“If the House of Assembly violates the provision of the constitution, the court has powers to tell them, you have violated the constitution. It is not correct to say impeachment is a political issue and one cannot go to court about it.
“If the 7 man panel report exonerated the deputy governor, the House of Assembly was acting unconstitutionally by proceeding further that was lawlessness.
“The court has power to review what the House of Assembly has done and decides whether they themselves have followed the procedure laid down in the constitution because the House of Assembly itself has gone contrary to the constitution.
“What they have done is a nullity,” the SAN said, explaining that, if the panel that was set up by the Chief Judge came up with report that the deputy governor has not done any wrong, the constitution made it very clear in section 188 sub 5 of the constitution.
“If the 7 man panel of men of integrity came up with an opinion that there was no wrongdoing or any misconduct on the part of the deputy governor, by provision of subsection 8 of section 188, that should be the end of the matter, the House of Assembly can’t proceed further, they have nothing to continue with.
“They can only continue if the panel had come up with something and say we found the man wanting in this respect, this allegation has been proofed, that is when they can proceed, but if the panel says they have not seen anything wrong on the part of the deputy governor, the matter ends there.
“That is what the constitution says; they cannot proceed again on their own because they have no basis from that point to proceed. I need to highlight, that if the deputy governor feels aggrieved, it is now left for him to challenge what the House of Assembly has done.
They have not complied with the provision of the constitution. Their action does not fall within the provision of subsection 10 of Section 188 which says that no proceeding or determination of the panel of the House of Assembly should be questioned in court because what should be questioned at that stage is the fact that the House of Assembly proceeded without jurisdiction.”