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Impeachment: Zamfara CJ inaugurates panel to probe deputy gov

Zamfara State Chief Judge, Justice Kulu Aliyu, has inaugurated a seven-man committee, under the chairmanship of retired Justice Tanko Soba to investigate the state deputy…

Zamfara State Chief Judge, Justice Kulu Aliyu, has inaugurated a seven-man committee, under the chairmanship of retired Justice Tanko Soba to investigate the state deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, over alleged gross misconduct.

In her inaugural address, Justice Kulu Aliyu said the constitution of the panel was based on the power bestowed on her by the constitution.

The chief judge said the constitution of the panel was in line with Section 185(5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

She said it also followed the receipt of the letter of request from the Hon. Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly dated February 10, 2022, to constitute a panel to investigate the allegation against the deputy governor.

“The constitutional provisions are very clear, the use of the word shall in Section 88(5 ) imposes a duty on me as the Chief Judge of Zamfara State to appoint a seven-person panel who are of unquestionable integrity to probe the allegation,” she said.

She said the selection of the members of the panel was based on their track records as persons of proven integrity.

The chief judge charged the panel to discharge its assignment in accordance with constitutional provisions and work as a team.

She urged the panel to give fair hearing to the deputy governor.

Court fixes Mar 10 for suit

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed March 10 for hearing of a suit by the deputy governor of Zamfara State, Mahadi Aliyu Gusau, seeking to stop his impeachment by the State House of Assembly.

Justice Inyang Ekwo on Monday adjourned the matter while directing parties to file and exchange their processes before the hearing date.

At the proceedings, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Gusau, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), pleaded with the judge to make a definite pronouncement on parties maintaining the status quo.

In the alternative, the senior lawyer urged the court to direct counsel to Governor Bello Matawalle, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the chief judge, and the speaker of the state assembly to give an undertaking for maintenance of the status quo.

However, in his response, Ozekhome told the court that Ukala only served him the amended originating summons, the motion to revive the status quo, and a motion for interlocutory injunction on February 11, 2022.

He argued that by the rules of the court, he was entitled to seven days to respond to each of the motions and 30 days to respond to the amended summons.

He also argued that the status quo order granted in July 2021, had since expired after 14 days going by the Federal High Court Rules, adding that the status quo request was based on a mere letter of invitation sent to Gusau to appear before the assembly to answer certain questions and not an order of impeachment.

Ozekhome further argued that as a constitutional lawyer, he could not give an undertaking that will have the effect of preventing the Zamfara State House of Assembly from carrying out its constitutional functions, including impeachment.

In his ruling, Justice Ekwo held that the application for the maintenance of the status quo and the other processes were not ripe for hearing.

He advised both lawyers that whatever applications or grievances they might have should be brought at the next adjourned date.

Meanwhile, the lone PDP lawmaker representing Zurmi East in Zamfara State House of Assembly, Salihu Usman Zurmi, has alleged threat to his life following his refusal to decamp to APC and to support the moves to impeach the deputy governor.

In a phone interview with Daily Trust, the lawmaker said he had fled the state and is taking refuge at an undisclosed location. He said some thugs had invaded his house.

However, the Director General, Press Affairs and Public Relations of the assembly, Mustapha Jafaru Kaura, has dismissed the allegations of the lawmaker.

From Shehu Umar (Gusau) & John Chuks Azu (Abuja)