A Nigerian court based in the eastern city of Owerri has struck out a motion by the embattled Imo Deputy Governor, Jude Agbaso, to stop his impeachment by the Imo Assembly.
The Presiding Judge, Justice F.I. Duruohaigwe, said that it would be unnecessary to grant the motion, since the applicant was not challenging the impeachment.
Agbaso had prayed the court to restrain the state legislature from proceeding with the impeachment process began last week.
He also prayed the court to restrain the Nigerian Police Force from harassing him or acting upon the recommendations of the House of Assembly against him.
The court, however, granted the applicant’s prayer, seeking to serve the respondents processes for the substantive suit through substituted means.
The Counsel to the applicant, Patrick Ikweto (SAN), told the court that the respondent infringed on the fundamental human rights of the deputy governor by investigating and indicting him in its report.
Ikweto argued that the House ought not to have dabbled in the investigation of the alleged N458 million contract scam, because that was a role of the security agencies.
He submitted that the applicant was not challenging the power of the legislature on impeachment per se, but that the process so far was faulty.
He argued that more harm would be done to the deputy governor if the court failed to stop the impeachment process, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Replying, Counsel to the respondent, Chief Akintola Adeniyi (SAN), argued that the court had no jurisdiction to make any order in the matter.
He argued that the matter was primarily a case of impeachment, which the House of Assembly is constitutionally empowered to handle.
Adeniyi said that it was the impeachment process that the applicant referred to as “fundamental right infringement”, saying that the court was not competent to handle impeachment matters.
He submitted that the applicant contradicted himself by joining impeachment and right infringement in his application.
The court adjourned hearing on the substantive suit to March 27.