Lawyer Tasks Kogi Assembly to Commence Impeachment Process Against Ododo

Human rights lawyer Deji Ajare has urged Umar Yusuf, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, to initiate impeachment proceedings against Governor Usman Ododo.

Ajare’s call, conveyed in a letter addressed to the speaker through the clerk of the House on Friday, cited allegations of misconduct and abuse of office against the governor.

Central to Ajare’s concerns is the governor’s use of his motorcade to aid the departure of the embattled former governor, Yahaya Bello, from the state. Ajare argues that this action amounts to harboring a fugitive, obstructing justice, and misusing state resources.

Reports from The Punch indicate that Governor Ododo whisked away his predecessor around 4:20 pm on Wednesday, following a raid by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at Bello’s Abuja residence in connection with an N80.2 billion money laundering case.

In response to Bello’s escape, the EFCC has declared him wanted, while the Nigeria Immigration Service has placed him on its watchlist.

Furthermore, the Inspector General of Police has ordered the withdrawal of all police units assigned to the former governor.

Ajare’s letter also implores the assembly to collaborate with the EFCC and ensure the availability of all individuals involved for questioning and investigations.

“In the light of the above allegations and the inherent potential breaches of statutory duties imposed by the Constitution and other relevant laws of our country, these actions, if proven true, amount to gross misconduct and warrant immediate investigation and commencement of impeachment proceedings.

“I hereby call on the Kogi State House of Assembly under your leadership to initiate a thorough inquiry into these allegations by Section 188 of the Nigerian Constitution, to ascertain the truth and to hold Governor Usman Ododo accountable if the allegations are found to be true.

READ ALSO: IGP Orders Withdrawal of Policemen Attached to Fleeing Former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello Amidst Legal Troubles

“I also urge the Kogi State House of Assembly to cooperate with national law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, to ensure all individuals involved are available for questioning and to facilitate a smooth investigation,” he said.

He urged the House of Assembly to promptly and decisively address the repercussions of the alleged “misgovernance,” emphasizing its impact on the state’s populace.

“I thank you, as I look forward to your urgent attention to this issue. I trust in your commitment to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our land for the betterment of our state and its people”, the letter also read.

Yet, Mohammed Yabagi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, conveyed to our correspondent over the phone that neither the Clerk nor the Speaker had received any such letter.

Yabagi further stated that the House had not identified any legitimate grounds to initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor.

Moreover, he emphasized that there was no evidence supporting the claim that the governor impeded security agencies from apprehending Yahaya Bello.

“Anybody in the public has their perception of the matter. But the House has not seen any reason, none of the members of the House were there, and none of them saw the governor trying to prevent the security agencies from doing their job. As far as the Assembly is concerned, the Assembly supports all constitutionally recognized security agencies. We have not seen any reason why the House should commence any impeachment processes.

“For context, as far as the Executive is concerned, the immediate past governor was not even at his Abuja residence, and there’s no concrete evidence that the Executive Governor prevented them from doing their constitutionally recognised job. The House is yet to receive such a letter, and the Speaker is yet to have any knowledge of such a letter,” he said.

In the interim, attempts to contact Ismaila Isah, the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Kogi State, were unsuccessful as his phone was switched off.

Nevertheless, Kingsley Fanwo, the Commissioner for Information in Kogi State, refuted claims suggesting that Ododo assisted Bello in evading security personnel attempting to apprehend him.

Speaking in an interview with Channels TV on Thursday, Fanwo emphasized the governor’s dedication to upholding the nation’s laws, including adherence to its legal procedures.

“Governor Ododo did not assist in Bello’s departure from his residence; the EFCC’s claims are misinformation aimed at furthering their objectives. Bello is not evading anyone; the existing court injunction protects his fundamental rights,” he said.