- As Air Force shuts Yola airport against Adamawa gov
From Umar Dankano, Yola
The Adamawa state House of Assembly yesterday directed its Clerk to serve Governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy, Barrister Bala Ngilari, with notices of impeachment against them.
Nyako and Ngilari were accused of gross misconduct just as the Assembly has yet to conclude its ongoing probe into the activities of the state ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The governor has been having a running battle with the Jonathan Presidency, which is alleged to have tapped members of his state Assembly to move against him.
The only four members of the Adamawa Assembly recently declared for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), leaving Nyako, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last year, in the opposition.
In a related development, the Air Force yesterday temporally shut down Yola International Airport, a move believed to be targeted at preventing Governor Nyako from taking off to Abuja to tactically avoid being served the state Assembly’s impeachment notice.
In a motion seeking the removal of the governor, the lawmaker representing Numan Constituency, Barrister Kwamoti Laori, pointed out that Nyako had committed acts of gross misconduct in the performance of his constitutional responsibilities as governor of Adamawa state.
Laori, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, based his submission on 20 grounds of financial misconduct by the governor.
Notable among the charges against him was the alleged award of a contract worth over N8 billion to SNECOU Group of Companies Limited, allegedly linked to one of the governor’s wives and meant to siphon public funds without delivering any services.
Other charges against the governor include corrupt diversion of the sum of N300 million public funds through a company, Hydro Source Resources Ltd, allegedly for construction of Mubi bye-pass, a contract the lawmaker said was never executed.
Nyako was also accused of gross violation of his oath of office through outrageous patronage and dominance of family and friends in the discharge of government business, such as funds in the MDGs office, the SPPU and Ministry of Health.
The governor was equally accused of squandering the sums of N4, 805,216,538.32 and N7, 114,995,590.85 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, through the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in disregard to budgetary approval and against the interest of people of the state.
Laori also accused the governor of gross violation of Section 120 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and gross misappropriation and diversion of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for personal use, to the detriment of the people of the state.
He accused Nyako of expending the sum of N2.5 billion as “Other Miscellaneous Expenses” through the Internal Affairs and Special Services Department and diversion of over N400 million out of the N500 million federal government intervention fund for flood victims in Adamawa state in 2011.
The MDGs Office in Adamawa state is alleged to be managed by Nyako’s close relations and allegedly squandered N220 million and N786, 457,644.94 budgeted state funds in 2013, for the implementation of MDGs programmes in the state.
The governor was also accused of abusing his office by appointing his wife, Halima Nyako Chairman of Adamawa State Action Committee on AIDS. “His government is popularly nicknamed “Government of Family and Friends,” the lawmaker said.
The governor also got knocks for the ‘overbearing strangulation of the local government areas and extortion of local government funds in the name of joint projects and security challenges in Mubi and other parts of Adamawa state.
This, according to the lawmakers, leaves many LGAs with nothing to pay workers entitlements. He was also said to have consistently contravened Section 168 (60 and 8) of the Constitution.
He was also accused of diverting of over N400 million out of the N500 million federal government intervention fund for flood victims in Adamawa state in 2011.
Moving the motion for Nyako’s deputy’s removal, Hon. Abdulkareem Umar, representing Narrasawo/Binyeri constituency, listed six grounds of financial misconduct.
He noted that the deputy governor committed acts of gross misconduct in the performance of his duties by diverting public funds to tune of N 50million released to his office by the state ministry of finance for the acquisition of the licence for the exploration of solid minerals in the state.
He was also carpeted for allegedly indulging in extra-budgetary expenditures to the tune of N397,311,559.05
However, tension arising from the state of emergency in Adamawa state was further aggravated as thousands of people trooped to the streets to protest the impeachment move by the Assembly.
But, a group, Save Adamawa State Movement (SASM), said the impeachment notice served on Nyako was a welcome development and long overdue.
The group, in a press statement issued in Abuja, claimed that all the allegations by the legislators were key issues members of the group have been raising for about two years now.
The statement, which was signed by the Acting National Coordinator, Dr. Pally Poga, said the SASM resorted to court action to let the world know of Nyako’s misrule and lawless governance that has become legendary and thereby brought down the whole state.
Responding to the development, Nyako’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Mallam Ahmad Sajo said, the governor was unaware of the move and that it remained in the realm of a wild speculation.
A stakeholder in the state, Alhaji Umaru Mijinyawa Kugama, described the move as a minus to democracy because the governor should be allowed to concentrate on providing dividends of democracy to the electorate.
Meanwhile, a source at the Yola airport told our correspondent yesterday that, there was a directive from “high authorities from Abuja”, ordering the shutdown of the airport against all commercial and private planes.
He explained that some Air Force personnel visited the airport early yesterday morning, chased out staff at the Control Towers, and put the entrance to the airport terminal under lock.
“Soldiers took over the airport, seized keys to the tarmac from airport staff and told Control Towers operators to vacate immediately”, the source stated.
It was learnt that the security personnel attached to the governor, who had arrived the airport as early as 7:30am, to make necessary arrangements for the Nyako’s departure to Abuja, were told that the soldiers were acting on orders from Abuja. The development forced Nyako to travel by road to Gombe, from where he allegedly board a plane to Abuja.
Sajoh confirmed the incident, alleging that it was part of a plot by the presidency to victimize Nyako.
“It is sad and unfortunate that a sitting governor will be treated the way my boss (Nyako) had experienced today and that is to show Nigerians the type of impunity we are witnessing in our so called democracy under President Jonathan and PDP led government,” he lamented.
According to him, Nyako was deliberately not invited by the Presidency to attend the first meeting with Gordon Brown to discuss assistance for schools in insurgency ravaged states in the North-east, which was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, while his counterparts from Borno and Yobe states Kashim Shettima and Ibrahim Gaidam were invited.
He added that Nyako was only invited later to attend the Wednesday session after Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngoz Okonjo-Iweala announced that he will join them.