A High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, on Thursday, declared the impeachment of former deputy governor, Simon Achuba, unconstitutional, null and void.
Justice John Olorunfemi declared that the decision of the state House of Assembly to proceed with the impeachment last October as an act of “legislative rascality devoid of reasoning.”
Justice Olorunfemi said he could not understand why the legislators, whose responsibility was to make laws for the state, turned out to be lawbreakers, choosing to proceed with the purported impeachment, even when the seven-man committee set up by the chief judge of the state to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor had declared him not guilty.
He, therefore, granted all the prayers of the defendant to the effect that the impeachment of the deputy governor carried out by the state assembly and subsequent swearing-in of Chief Edward Onoja on the October 18, 2019 was null, void and therefore was of no consequence.
The judge said the chief judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajana, should not have gone ahead with the swearing-in of Onoja as no further action should have taken place after the “no guilty verdict” of the seven-man committee set up to investigate the deputy governor.
Justice Olorunfemi also ordered that all the reliefs sought by the claimant be granted without further delay.
Reacting to the judgment, Ojonimi Apeh, who represented Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, described the court’s decision as a victory for democracy and rule of law.
Also, Yemi Mohammed, who represented Justice Ajana, commended the judge for the “well-researched” judgment but absolved his client of all blame, saying the Justice Ajana only discharged his administrative duty as there was no court injunction saying a new deputy governor should not be sworn in at that time.