Supreme Court Reserves Judgement in Nyako's Appeal for Reinstatement as Governor
The Supreme Court has reserved judgment in an appeal filed by a former Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) seeking to be reinstated as governor of the state to complete his tenure after the Court of Appeal quashed his impeachment.
The apex court fixed judgment for December 16, 2016 after hearing counsel to parties in the appeal for and against the appeal.
While the appellant counsel, Mr. Uchema Nwokedi, SAN urged the seven-man panel led by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to uphold the appeal, those for the respondents separately asked the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Arguing the appeal on Thursday, Nwokedi urged the court to take into consideration, the damage that was done to the constitution by the lawmakers in their desperate bid to impeach the former governor and to ensure that such impunity never repeats itself again
.He said the only way to compensate his client for the damage done to him was to reinstate him as governor of the State.
However, counsel to the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Mahmud Magaji SAN, Chief Chris Uche, SAN for the Adamawa State government and the Nigerian Police represented by Oyetola Atoyebi, all urged the court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that Nyako’s tenure had since elapsed.
The Court of Appeal, Adamawa division, led by Justice Jumai Sankey had in a unanimous judgment, described Nyako’s impeachment as a high level of impunity, recklessness, rascality and a gross abuse of legislative powers by the Adamawa State House of Assembly
In declaring his impeachment as unconstitutional, null and void, court condemned what it called “the gross abuse of the legislative powers by the lawmakers to achieve orchestrated, premeditated and selfish motives."
Besides, the appellate court held that the impeachment of the former governor was a misuse of the powers and privileges of the legislature. It the declared the impeachment as null, void and of no effect.
Accordingly, the court in granting all the five reliefs in favour of Nyako ordered that he be accorded all rights of the office of the governor of Adamawa State throughout his legally recognized period in office.
However, the court declined to make a consequential order reinstating him the governor of Adamawa State.
Justice Tunde Awotoye while delivering his judgment of the Court of Appeal noted that the respondents took laws into their hands as they flagrantly abused the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to meet their whimsical and selfish desires.
Justice Jumai Hannatu Sankey, in her lead judgment noted that the court as the last arbiter would not fold its arms and watch impunity being entrenched in the country.
She noted that the decision of the House of 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.
Justice Ugochukwu Anthony Ogakwu in his judgment said: “Impunity. Rascality. Impertinence. Impudence. These are some of the adjectives I consider mild enough to employ in describing the actions of the Adamawa State House of Assembly.”
On his part, Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill stated: “My lords, the culture of impunity, as displayed by the Ist Respondent in the processes and procedures leading to the purported impeachment of the applicant, which like many other acts of impunity in the land, have been tolerated for far too long in this country, has indeed run its full circle and must be stopped now and cut down! I hereby so stop and cut it down in this appeal…”
In all, 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 despite the order of the high court in Adamawa State.
Nyako was impeached by the Adamawa State House of Assembly on Tuesday July 16, 2014 following allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him by the House of Assembly.