From Tom Garba, Yola
A Court of Appeal sitting in Yola, Adamawa State on Thursday cleared former Governor Murtala Nyako of from all impeachment offences levelled against him by the last House of Assembly, saying that the impeachment was premised on impunity, recklessness, rascality and constituted a gross abuse of legislative powers.
The panel of five justices led by Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey unanimously condemned in its totality the gross abuse of legislative powers by the Adamawa State House of assembly to achieve a premeditated and selfish agenda.
Governor Nyako was impeached by the Adamawa House of Assembly on Tuesday 16th July, 2014 following allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by the House, prompting him to go to court to seek the enforcement of his fundamental human rights as he said the impeachment was carried out without recourse to rule of law.
The justices in their various submissions and contributions unanimously agreed that the impeachment of the governor was a misuse of the powers and privileges of the legislature, describing it “null, void and of no effect”.
In the lead judgment read by Justice Tunde Ayotoye all the justices agreed that the Appellant was not given fair hearing in the impeachment process.
Justice Ayotoye noted that the respondents took laws into their hands as they flagrantly abuse the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to meet their whimsical and selfish desires.
In her judgment, Justice Hannatu Sankey noted that the court, as the last resort to justice, would not fold its arms and watch impunity entrenched in the country.
She noted that the failure of the Assembly to ignore the constitutional provision of personal service of impeachment notice on the former governor was a misnomer to the constitution which must be uprooted.
The court ordered that Nyako be accorded all rights of office of the governor of Adamawa State throughout his legally recognized period in office.
However, the court struck out the appeal of Nyako to be returned as governor of the state as, according to the justices, his tenure as governor had elapsed .
The court condemned in strong terms the arrogance of the lawmakers and some politicians who flagrantly refused to obey court orders stopping them from going ahead with the impeachment process.
Counsel to the former governor, Modibbo M. Bakari, said with the verdict, Nyako status as a ex-governor of the state has now been restored in full.
Bakari also said that Umaru Fintiri and Bala Ngilari tenures as governors have become unknown to law with the verdict.