The Chairman of the panel that investigated allegations of gross misconduct against the sacked deputy governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, has clarified that his committee did not indict him because it could not prove the allegations levelled against him.
Describing the announcement that Achuba had been removed as “the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life”, John Baiyeshea said the report of the panel was submitted when the state assembly was not in session.
He said in accordance with the law, the lawmakers could not have commenced the removal proceedings since the panel could not prove the allegations against Achuba.
“This is the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard in my life,” he said in an interview, according to The Cable.
“We submitted the report to the speaker around 1p.m. and I left Lokoja for Abuja. I was at Gwagwalada area when one of the panel’s members who had not left Lokoja called to tell me that he saw it on television that the deputy governor had been impeached.
“As far as the report that we submitted to the house of assembly is concerned, the committee returned the decision that all the allegations were not proved. What the constitution said by section 188(8) is that, ‘once the panel returns a verdict like that. No further proceedings can be taken on it.’
“That is it. It is only when the panel returns a verdict that allegations have been proved (to be true) that they can go ahead within 40 days. When did the house sit? We delivered the documents and the house was not even in session today.”
In the panel report seen by TheCable, Achuba was accused of financial misappropriation, “deliberate disdain” for decisions of Kogi executive council and absconding from official duties among others.
But the panel made it clear that the allegations could not be substantiated.
“In line with Section 188(8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) quoted herein before, we hereby report to the Kogi State House of Assembly that the allegations contained in the Notice of Allegations admitted in evidence by this Panel as Exhibit C7 have NOT BEEN PROVED,” it said.
Governor Yahaya Bello has since picked Edward Onoja, his running mate, to replace Achuba.
Meanwhile, the embattled former deputy governor has maintained that his purported impeachment is illegal and cannot stand the test of time.
He disclosed this in a press conference shortly after moving out of the official residence of the deputy governor in Lokoja, the state capital.
He said swearing in anyone else will amount to continuation of illegality being perpetrated by Governor Yahaya Bello.
Achuba described his ordeal as the height of the disobedience of the rule of law, which should be the major driver in a democracy.
He further disclosed to journalists that even as a sitting deputy governor, he was treated like a common criminal, held under house arrest, his house disconnected from the public power source.
He described the treatment given to him as completely illegal and inhumane, adding that the situation in the state is a shame and an insult to the state, and the country in general.
While insisting that he remains the Kogi State deputy governor, he described the sitting by the state House of Assembly that sacked him as Kangaroo, saying their process goes contrary to Section 181 of the 1999 constitution.