Court Voids Niger Speaker’s Impeachment | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Court Voids Niger Speaker’s Impeachment

Posted: Nov 1, 2015 at 4:06 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chinwendu Nnadozie, Minna

The impeachment of the Speaker Niger State House of Assembly, Adamu Usman, on May 5, 2014, has been declared as not only unconstitutional but null and void by a Minna High Court.

The former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, a legal practitioner, was impeached by the House over a number of allegations which included non-performance and as well, serving as a stooge to the former Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu.

Usman was impeached by 14 out of the 27 man legislature on May 5, 2015, few days to the end of the Seventh Niger State House of Assembly but the Court barely five months later ruled that the lawmakers erred in law by removing the Speaker contrary to the provisions of the law.

He was replaced by Isa Kawu who held the position till the end of the Senenth Assembly.

Consequently, Adamu Usman and two others had dragged the assembly and 22 others before the court seeking its declaration that apart from the action of the assembly being unconstitutional the decisions taken by the defendants ‘were of no effect’.

Also the plaintiff had asked the court to declare that his ‘‘rights, privileges and interests as Speaker of the 7th Niger State House of Assembly were not affected by the purported impeachment.’’

Giving her judgment, which lasted for almost 90 minutes, Justice Fati Lami Abubakar agreed with the petitioner that the lawmakers erred in law by impeaching the petitioner without 2/3rds of the members as required by the house order being in attendance at the session where the action was taken.

‘‘The purported impeachment of the plaintiff on the 05/05/2015 at about 2.08pm is illegal, wrongful null and void,” she said.

The court further declared that all proceedings purportedly taken by the lawmakers by the third defendants as the purported Speaker between May 5, 2015 to May 29, 2015 are null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Justice Abubakar also ruled that the ‘‘rights privileges and interests of the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively including their terminal benefits are unaffected by the purported impeachment.’’

Reacting to the judgment, Adamu Usman described it as ‘‘a legal landmark in the jurisprudence of Niger State,’’ adding, ‘‘this judgment will put a stop to the way and manner we conduct ourselves in the legislature.”