Governor Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State on Monday appeared before the judicial panel investigating allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him by the state House of Assembly.
Al-Makura, who arrived the venue at about 9.00 am in Lafia, told members of the panel that he was yet to be served with the impeachment notice.
He, however, said that his appearance was in respect of a hearing notice served on him by the investigation panel.
He told the panel that he would challenge the violation of his right to proper service of the notice at the appropriate forum.
He said although the allegations against him were spurious, he had decided to appear in order to clear his name.
Al-Makura said his team of lawyers were on hand to continue with his defence, and urged the panel to be transparent in the interest of the state.
Meanwhile, the panel has given the House of Assembly till 9:00 am on Tuesday to appear before it and substantiate the 16-point allegations of gross misconduct against the governor.
Panel Chairman Yusuf Usman stated that the House was not represented at the hearing after it was duly served with the hearing notice.
He, therefore, directed the secretary of the panel to paste the hearing notice on the notice board at the venue of the sitting as well as the gate of the House of Assembly.
“Having consulted, the panel does not disagree with the substance of the governor’s counsel.
“However, in the spirit of fair hearing, the Nasarawa Assembly would be given up to 9:00 am to appear and substantiate their claims,’’ he said.
Earlier, Chief Nnoruka Udechukwu (SAN), Counsel to Al-Makura, had pleaded with the panel to dismiss the allegations for want of prosecution since the House of Assembly had failed to appear to prove their case.
Udechukwu said his plea was in line with paragraph 7(c) of the panel’s guideline which stipulates that where the Assembly fails or neglects to appear and lead evidence in proof of the allegations, the panel, upon proof of service may dismiss the allegations.”
He said the provisions of the guideline were in tandem with Section 280 of the Criminal Procedure Law, adding that the panel does not have to wait for three months to finish its work.
“Since the state House of Assembly members have failed to appear to substantiate the allegations against the governor, the panel has no option than to dismiss the allegations and enter a no proof verdict,’’ he said.
Udechukwu also noted that apart from the publication in national dailies, the panel does not have copies of the impeachment notice as required by the constitution.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the House had on July 30, sat in Karu and passed a resolution directing the state Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko, to disband and reconstitute the investigation panel.
It alleged that some of the members had questionable character. Punch