Thursday, 31 July 2014

Nasarawa lawmakers direct CJ to sack probe panel •Controversy trails N100m sitting fund

Nasarawa House of Assembly members, on Wednesday, directed the state Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko, to disband the seven-man probe panel he inaugurated last Friday to investigate alleged misconduct of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. The membership composition, according to the lawmakers, contravened Section 188 (1) of the 1999 Constitution. The assembly members disclosed that two card- carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been uncovered among the probe panel members. Another four had earlier been alleged to be of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The resolution was passed by the lawmakers at its plenary, which held at the legislative chambers of Karu Local Government, Karu, Nasarawa State. The lawmakers invoked the rule of the assembly to conduct legislative businesses anywhere in the state, following alleged assassination attempts on the Clerk of the Assembly and another member. At the plenary, the Committee on Public Complaints told the assembly that it received petitions from different stakeholders that certain members of the probe panel are card-carrying members of political parties, in contravention of the 1999 Constitution. The committee disclosed that its investigation showed that the allegations were true with the registration numbers of two panel members, as bonafide members of the PDP, obtained and displayed to the whole Assembly. In its formal report to the House, the committee presented PDP membership register showing Galadima Keffi, Alhaji Abdul Usman and former Secretary to State Government and Ciroma of Keane, Mohammed Sabo Keane as active PDP chieftains. Another member of the panel x-rayed by the assembly committee was Reverend Joel Galadima, with payment voucher in his favour as a member of the state Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board who was appointed by the governor, obtained and tendered to the whole Assembly. A resolution was subsequently passed, directing the CJ to disband the panel and put a new one in place. Meanwhile, a new dimension has come into the impeachment process, with payment vouchers flying around, suggesting that about N100 million has been released to the Chief Judge between last Friday when the probe panel was inaugurated and yesterday. No official reason had been given for the alleged release of said sum in tranches. A legislative source hinted that a probe would be launched into what the money was meant for since judiciary was on strike. The source said the alleged sum could only be for the panel, adding that whatever informed such alleged huge budget would be verified.

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