HomeNewsShaibu: Impeachment Panel Begins Sitting April 3

Shaibu: Impeachment Panel Begins Sitting April 3

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The impeachment process initiated, penultimate week, against the embattled deputy governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu, by the state House of Assembly, moved a step further yesterday as the seven-man panel constituted by the state Chief Judge (CJ), Justice, Daniel Okungbowa, announced its sitting.

In a notice of sitting issued by the panel via a press statement, it stated that the panel would hold its meeting on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at the Judges Conference Room, New High Court Complex, Benin, by 10.00am.

The statement endorsed by the panel’s administrative secretary, George Odidi, enjoined all parties and, or their counsel to be present on the aforementioned date, while the complainant (Edo State House Assembly), was also asked “to be ready to present its case on that day.”
The text of the one-paragraph statement titled: “Press Release Panel to Investigate Allegation of Misconduct of His Excellency the Deputy Governor of Edo State”, reads: “Take notice that consequent upon the inauguration of the above panel by His Lordship the Hon. Chief Judge of Edo State, Hon. Justice D.I. Okungbowa in line with section 188 subsection 5 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the said Panel shall commence sitting at Judges Conference room, New High Court Complex, Benin City on Wednesday 3° day of April, 2024 at 10:00Am prompt. Parties and /or their counsel are expected to be present on that day while the complainant is expected to be ready to present its case on that day.”

It would be recalled that the Edo CJ had on Friday, March 22, 2024, constituted the seven-man panel, headed by Justice S.A. Omonuwa (rtd) to investigate the allegations levelled Shaibu, by the state House of Assembly as part of the processes initiated by the assembly to impeach the deputy governor.

The panel, known in political parlance as the “Committee of Seven Wise Men”, was constituted vide a statement, with reference number: CR/4837 /Vol. I/131, endorsed by the Chief Registrar of the Edo State High Court, Mr. B. O. Osawaru.

In the statement empanelling the committee, the Chief Registrar stated that the CJ was acting in accordance with the powers vested on him by “Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and listed other members of the panel to include: Professor Violet Aigbokhaebo, Professor Boniface Onomion Edegbai; Professor Theresa Akpoghome; Mr. Oghogho Ayodele Oviasu; Surv. Dr. Andrew Oliha and Mr. Idris Abdulkareen.

But on Monday, March 25, 2024, a reviewed list of the panel members was also released by the Chief Registrar. In the new list Professors Violet Aigbokhaebo and Boniface Onomion Edegbai were dropped and replaced with President Aigbokhian and Mariam Erakhoba Ilavbare. No reason was given for dropping the two professors earlier announced.

The Edo State House of Assembly, it would be recalled, had on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, vide a resolution passed by 19 out of the 24 members, directed the CJ to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate Shaibu.

The same day, Shaibu approached an Abuja Federal High Court, asking the court, through an ex-parte motion, to restrain the assembly, the CJ and his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, from taking further action on the impeachment process pending the determination of the substantive matter before the court.

In the motion dated and filed on March 18, the deputy governor, through his lawyer, Professor Oladoyin Awoyale, also joined the Edo State Government, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Clerk of the Assembly, the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of the Police.

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