The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has condemned the impeachment of the deputy governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba.
Bemoaning the development, the caucus in a statement jointly signed by its leader, Hon Kingsley Chinda, deputy leader, Hon Chukwuma Onyema, said events leading to the purported removal of Achuba were to say the least, offensive and embarrassing, describing the entire removal process as a hoax.
It also stressed the need for the National Assembly, civil society groups and all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene in order to save democracy from total collapse.
The statement reads in part: “We watched with very keen interest recent developments surrounding the embattled Deputy Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Simon Achuba and we join several well-meaning Nigerians and democrats to condemn in very strong terms the purported impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, which is not only baseless, but illegal, unconstitutional and a total debasement of all known democratic principles, due process and the rule of law by members of the Kogi State House of Assembly in concert with the Kogi State Government.
“The events leading to the purported impeachment of Mr Achuba as Deputy Governor of Kogi State are, to say the least, offensive, grotesque and embarrassing as the entire impeachment process itself was a hoax.
“Recall that Mr Simon Achuba has for over a year been at cross purposes and had a running battle with the Kogi State Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello.
“It is interesting to note that following allegations of misappropriation of funds, non-compliance with extant financial regulations and gross misconduct against Mr Simon Achuba, a 7-Man judicial panel set up by the Chief Judge of Kogi State, His Lordship, the Honourable Justice Nasiru Ajana and headed by John Baiyeshea (SAN) having investigated same, found the Deputy Governor not guilty and accordingly exonerated him of all the allegations.
“Curiously, moments after the panel submitted its reports, on Friday, 18th October 2019, the Kogi State House of Assembly (which was not even in session), led by its Speaker, Mr Kolawole Matthew, proceeded to allegedly impeach the Deputy Governor”.
According to the lawmakers, the impeachment is “clearly a travesty of justice and tantamount to a criminal conduct on the part of members of the Kogi State House of Assembly as it offends the letter and spirit of S.188(8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which provides that ‘where the panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.’