A Yola High Court, presided over by the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Ambrose Mammadi, yesterday dismissed an application filed by Governor Murtala Nyako through his Counsel, Ayo Akams, to restrain the state House of Assembly from proceeding on the impeachment move against him.
This is coming as a anonymous group sympathetic to the governor has accused Senator Bello Tukur of being part of the malfeasance allegedly committed by the Nyako’s administration.
Justice Mammadi, in his ruling on the matter said the House of Assembly has not committed any constitutional breach in its move to remove the governor.
The Court had earlier granted an interim injunction on 26th June restraining the Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment process against the governor and this elapsed on the 2nd of July.
But the court ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought before it by the state governor and adjourned till the 9th of July.
Reacting to the ruling, a counsel to the embattled governor, Barr. Ayo Akumu, said “I am comfortable; my joy is that the court did not say it has no jurisdiction to entertain the case. The matter is still pending before the court; I am ok with it. The action taken by the House as at yesterday, I had made it clear that is a violation of the court order,’’ he said.
Also reacting, Nyako’s adviser on legal matters, Hajiya Hadiza Aminu, applauded the ruling, saying, ‘’We are happy for today’s ruling, which says that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case; that is why it has been adjourned to July 9, for continuation.
‘’We appeal to our teeming supporters to remain calm, resolute and be law abiding as the court is on the top of the matter,’’ she said.
It is not clear, for now, whether the state Acting Judge had received any correspondence from the lawmakers to constitute the 7-man panel or not, as the Chief Registrar of the High Court, Alh. Abubakar Babayola has said he has yet to be communicated. He said, “As I am talking to you now, we are yet to receive their correspondence; and if there is any, we will communicate to you,’’ said the chief registrar.
But when contacted on phone, the chief press secretary to the speaker of the state Assembly, Mr. Solomon Kumangar said, ‘’The Clerk has since communicated the matter and it was received at the chamber of the Acting Chief Judge before closing hours,’’ he claimed.
In a related development, some of Nyako’s men have accused Senator Bello Tukur of being part of the malfeasance allegedly committed by the governor.
They wondered why Tukur would be part of the Elders Forum at a meeting held recently in Yola to indict Nyako for corruption, when he was his former Chief of Staff who asked for ‘extraneous budget’ during his tenure.
According to the governor’s sympathisers, the ex-Chief of Staff allegedly made financial demands under the guise of essential services.
Tukur was said to have requested and got approval for the sum of N15 million from the governor on October 10, 2010 to host some ‘important dignitaries’ from outside the state who came to attend a National Polo Tournament.
The breakdown in a document obtained by one of our reporters, indicated that Tukur demanded and got approval for N3.5m for ‘honourarium’ and souvenir for the visiting officials; N2.5million for logistics; N2.5m for accommodation; N3m for the purchase of 100 pieces of ‘Shadda’ brocade and N3.5m for miscellaneous.
Similarly, it was alleged that the former Chief of Staff requested and got N30.55m to off-set some of the expenses incurred by his office.
It also alleged that the state government spent N120m to fund his election into the Senate in 2011.
While challenging the senator to disclose how much he received as imprest while in office, the group requested to know why Tukur chose to fuel Government House vehicles at a private filling station at Jimeta.
Nyako’s men thus called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the activities of those who served in Nyako’s cabinet from 2007 till date, with special emphasis on Chiefs of Staff.
Several efforts made to get Tukur’s reaction were rebuffed, as he neither picked calls put across to him nor reply text messages on the allegations.