- As investigative panel defies public holiday, begins sitting
By Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja & Umar Dankano, Yola
There are indications that the federal government may charge embattled Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako to court for treason as soon as the state Assembly impeaches him.
This indication emerged even as Governor Nyako battles to stave off the impeachment move against him and his deputy, Bala Ngillari.
Meanwhile, notwithstanding the public holidays declared by the Adamawa state government, the 7-man investigative panel set up by the state Chief Judge, Justice Ambrose Mammadi, to probe the governor and his deputy over allegations of gross misconduct and maladministration, swung into action yesterday.
This is just as speculations were rife yesterday that the embattled governor may have resolved to resign in order to pave the way for his deputy to become the substantive governor.
A highly placed source in the Federal Justice Ministry disclosed that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), was considering a six-count treason charge against Nyako, based on the memo the latter wrote to his colleagues in the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF), in which he accused the Goodluck Jonathan administration at the centre of genocide in the North.
The source revealed that should the state Assembly succeed in impeaching the Adamawa governor, and thus stripping Nyako of his immunity, he would be taken to court to account for his comments which were considered treasonable.
According to the source, Nyako may be charged before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
But when contacted for comment on the alleged plan, the chief press secretary in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (OAGF), Ambrose Momoh said he was not aware of any such plot.
Meanwhile, the bid to impeach the Adamawa governor and his deputy was intensified as the 7-man probe panel charged to investigate the duo met yesterday in Yola.
Chief Registrar of the Yola High Court, Abubakar Baba Yola, had earlier told journalists that the inauguration of the committee which was billed to hold in the court premises by 9am yesterday (Monday), was not a compulsory requirement of the Constitution as it was not expressly spelt out.
Our correspondent in the state reported that the committee commenced its maiden meeting amidst tight security at the J & J Holiday Villa Hotel, situated at Atiwurcha close in Karewa GRA in the state capital.
Many residents expressed reservations about the turn of events in Adamawa as they argued that such panel ought to have been inaugurated.
Newsmen were barred from covering the maiden sitting of the panel as security men consisting of soldiers and policemen maintained surveillance at strategic positions in the vicinity of the venue of the sitting.
Meanwhile, civil servants in the state have complied with the holiday ordered by the government yesterday as all government offices across the state remained under locks and keys.
Commenting on the development, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House, Solomon Kumanga, disclosed that the Assembly has no powers to interfere with the committees’ duties as its mandate has been completed when it ordered the acting chief judge to constitute the panel.
In a related development, the Adamawa Assembly has described the 2-day holiday declared by the governor as “ill-timed and self-motivated”.
In a press statement signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Adamu Kamale, the lawmakers contended that the declaration of the two-day public holiday could have been more appropriate when the state lost many of its citizens in violent attacks by gunmen in Numan, Lamurde, Michika, Madagali, Maiha, Ganye, among others in the past.
The Assembly also chided the state government for its failure to pay workers’ salaries, adding that “information available to the House shows that Adamawa State Salary Account has never been frozen at any time by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); rather it is the capital account that was frozen”.
The lawmakers pledged to continue rendering their constitutional responsibilities to the Adamawa people despite alleged threats to their lives in the wake of the impeachment notice they served on the governor and his deputy.
“The honourable members are fully aware of threats, intimidation and hired assassins as a result of the their unshakable resolve to see that the allegations of gross misconduct against the governor and his deputy are concluded in accordance with the 1999 Constitution as amended,” the statement said.