A High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, has declared the removal of Simon Achuba, former Kogi deputy governor by the State House of Assembly as null and void, according to a report by Channels Television.
Justice John Olorunfemi while delivering the judgment on Wednesday, said Achuba’s removal from office by the Assembly was a violation of the constitution and the subsequent nomination of Edward Onoja as the deputy governor did not follow due process
Justice Olorunfemi described the action of the Kogi State House of Assembly as a constitutional coup, hatched and executed in a democracy, explaining further that the action was contrary to Section 188 subsection 8, a section that stopped the Assembly from further action having discovered that the former deputy governor was not found wanting by the panel.
The judge said the onus to produce the remaining volumes of the report purported to have indicted the former deputy governor rest with the defendants, which they failed to do.
He pointed out that the 29th defendants also did not file a counter-notice, describing the process of removing the former deputy governor as not following due process.
Achuba had earlier challenged his impeachment by the Kogi State Assembly and sought relief of the court to declare his impeachment as illegal and to be reinstated as the rightful deputy governor of the state.
In their submission, counsel to the impeached deputy governor, Jibrin Okutachi (SAN), in a 13-page counter-affidavit, submitted that the court should discountenance the application by the clerk, describing it as a breach of court order 11, rule 2, subsection 4, and section 115 subsection 4 of the evidence act.
Achuba was impeached in October 2019 by members of the Kogi State House of Assembly.
His impeachment followed the submission of a report of the committee set up by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajana, to investigate an allegation of gross misconduct against the former deputy governor.