From Tony Osauzo, Benin

The Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, has constituted a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations levelled against the state Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, by the state House of Assembly. This is part of the impeachment procedures initiated by the Assembly against the deputy governor.

The Chief Registrar of the Edo State High Court, Mr. B. O. Osawaru, who announced this in a statement dated March 22, 2024, with reference number: CR/4837 /Vol. I/131, said that the panel is headed by retired Justice S.A. Omonua.

The statement explained that the CJ in constituting the committee was acting in accordance with the powers vested on him by “Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

“This is to bring to the notice of the general public that in line with Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Honourable Chief Judge of Edo State, Honourable Justice D.I. Okungbowa has constituted the panel of seven persons to investigate the allegations contained in the impeachment notice against the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Honourable Philip Shaibu.”

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The CJ disclosed that the panel comprises: Hon. Justice S.A. Omonua (Rtd.) a- Chairman; Prof Violet Aigbokhaebo; Prof Boniface Onomion Edegbai; Prof Theresa Akpoghome; Mr Oghogho Ayodele Oviasu; Surv. Dr Andrew Oliha; and Mr Idris Abdulkareen, as members.

It would be recalled that the Edo State House of Assembly had on Tuesday, March 19, in a resolution passed by 19 out of the 24 members, directed the CJ to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate Shaibu.

The same day, Shaibu approached an Abuja Federal High Court, asking the court, through an ex-parte motion, to restrain the Assembly, the CJ and Governor Godwin Obaseki, from taking further action on the impeachment process pending the determination of the substantive matter before the court.

In the motion dated and filed on March 18, the deputy governor, through his Counsel, Prof Oladoyin Awoyale, also joined the Edo State Government, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Clerk of the Assembly, the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Inspector General of the Police

Meanwhile, the court, presided over by Justice James Omotoso, has turned down the request, insisting rather that all parties be put on notice. The court, however, granted the request that the parties be served by substituted means and adjourned the matter to April 15.