Impeachment: Shaibu Backs Out As Panel Dismisses Court Order

The seven-man panel set up by the Chief Judge (CJ) of Edo State, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, to investigate the allegations of misconduct levelled against the embattled deputy governor of the state, Comrade Philip Shaibu, on Wednesday, begun sitting.

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The panel, headed by retired Justice S. A. Omonuwa, was set up by the Chief Judge following the resolution of the Edo State House of Assembly, which initiated the impeachment proceedings against Shaibu.

At the panel’s inaugural hearing on Wednesday morning, the House of Assembly was represented by its Deputy Clerk (Legal), Mr. Ohiafi Joe, while the deputy governor Shaibu was represented by Professor Oladoyin Awoyale (SAN).

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There was, however, a protest from Shaibu’s counsel arguing against the sitting of the panel. But, the panel ruled that it will continue with its investigation as there was no any court order stopping its work.

Justice Omonuwa (Rtd), while giving his ruling, said the Federal High Court in Abuja only asked parties to come before it and show cause.

Counsel to the House of Assembly had while arguing his position said that by the virtue of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 188 (10) (as amended), no court has the right to prevent the House of Assembly or the panel, from performing its constitutional responsibilities.

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Joe further argued that Shaibu’s counsel, Awoyale (SAN), must convince the panel that the provision of the constitution had been violated for the panel to sustain his argument.

In his ruling, the chairman of the panel, Justice Omonuwa (Rtd), said that the panel would continue its work and asked the House of Assembly to state its case against Shaibu.

Responding to the ruling, Awoyale, SAN told the panel that his client would not be able to continue to participate in the investigation and sought the panel’s permission to be excused.

When asked whether he was waving his right to defend his client, the Senior Lawyer answered in the negative, stressing that parties must obey the court decision that they should appear before it to show cause.

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Probed further if he was “arresting the ruling of the panel”, Awoyale (SAN) answered again in the negative and reiterated the need to obey the court which would be sitting on Monday, April 8, 2024.

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