Kogi State

Kogi Crisis: Activist Says It’s A Collective Shame To Lawyers, Accuses Chief Judge Of Aiding Constitutional Vandals

By Akanimo Sampson

A constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong, has accused the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasir Ajanah, of aiding ‘’constitutional vandals’’ to set the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ablaze.

According to him, ‘’Ajanah swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but that constitution has been set ablaze by constitutional vandals in Kogi State, aided by the Chief Judge of the State.’’

Ajanah on Monday swore in Edward David Onoja as the new Deputy Governor of the state This followed his clearance by the state House of Assembly after screening at the Assembly complex in Lokoja, the state capital.

Onoja was sworn in by Ajanah, assisted by the Grand Khadi of the state, Abdulkareem Aruwa and Governor Yahaya Bello, who is seeking a re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party.

But, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had rejected the purported impeachment of Simon Achuba, as the deputy governor of the state by the seeming compromised state legislators.

NBA said the impeachment was illegal and unconstitutional because it was against the findings of the probe panel raised by the state Chief Judge which cleared Achuba of wrongdoings. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun, the lawyers’ body said it viewed the events with serious concerns and urged all parties to exercise great caution.

“Available information indicates that the Honorable Chief Judge of Kogi State in the exercise of his constitutional powers and pursuant to a Resolution of the Kogi State House of Assembly, constituted a 7 man panel, chaired by Mr. John Baiyeshea, SAN, to investigate the allegations of misconduct against the Deputy Governor of Kogi State.

‘’The said Investigation Panel has since submitted its report to the Kogi State House of Assembly, finding the Deputy Governor not guilty and cleared him of all the allegations made against him. The Nigerian Bar Association views these events with great concerns and urges all parties to exercise great caution’’, their statement said.

However, Effiong who is also the National Legal Adviser of the African Action Congress (AAC), says this is a time for lawyers in this country to feel a sense of collective shame.

According to him, “the Chief Judge of Kogi State did not swear oath of allegiance to the other two organs of government. By accepting to swear-in an impostor as the Deputy Governor, the Chief Judge has exposed himself and the judiciary to ridicule.

‘’The legal profession that some of us joined with so much passion is becoming a disastrous joke in this country. It is to the eternal shame of the Kogi State Judiciary that the State Chief Judge took part in this coup.

‘’I say without apology that those who have aided this criminal subversion of the Constitution do not merit a seat in the hall of honour. What we are being told is that the Constitution of Nigeria is useless. If the head of the judiciary in a state in Nigeria can willingly partake in this type of open rape on the Constitution, where lies the hope for the common man in the judiciary?

‘’This is the time for collective indignation. What have we not seen under this regime? Those who made fraudulently misrepresentation to the Nigerian people that they were agents of change have now proven beyond reasonable doubt that they were actually on a wild criminal expedition to ruin whatever is left of this perilous country.

‘’If the Constitution says no further proceedings shall be taken in the matter when the Panel reports to the House of Assembly that the allegations has not been proved, does one need a law degree to understand the import of that?  Is it not very shameful that the same Chief Judge who constituted the 7-man Panel decided to abandon his oath of office to dance to the unconstitutional tunes of Governor Yahaya Bello?’’

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