December 11, 2014

Court voids Ebonyi Speaker’s impeachment

Court voids Ebonyi Speaker’s impeachment

•Madam Speaker flanked by her men

By Peter Okutu

ABAKALIKI — An Abakaliki High Court, presided over by Justice Anslem Nwigwe, yesterday, voided the impeachment of Chukwuma Nwazunku, as the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, raising fears of possible impeachment of Governor Martin Elechi.

The governor was insinuated to have played a role in the purported impeachment of the Speaker.

The court nullified the November 10 2014 purported impeachment of the Speaker by 13 members of the House in a Hotel in Abakaliki.

Justice Nwigwe asserted that the sitting of Ebonyi State House of Assembly could only take place in the chambers of the House and that the Speaker could only be removed from office by two third majority of the members.

“This court declares that the House sitting was unconstitutional and not in compliance with the House rules, and was conducted outside the Chambers while the Speaker can only be impeached by two-third majority of the members. In this case therefore, the two-third of Ebonyi House Assembly with 24 members is 16 while 13 of the members sat on November10 to impeach the speaker which is not lawful. The sitting of the House at ‘’Top View Hotel, Abakaliki” to do the business of the House, was illegal, null and void and contrary to the 1999 constitution as amended.

“The defendants are hereby restrained or acting in a manner to stop the Speaker from performing his legitimate functions as speaker of the Ebonyi House of Assembly. The governor as the 16 defendant is also restrained from withdrawing the security details of the speaker,” he said.

He ruled that the sitting by 13 members of the House at Top View Hotel, Abakaliki, purporting to conduct the business of the House was a contravention of the provisions of the 1999 constitution and the House rules.