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JUST IN: Edo lawmakers impeach Deputy Gov for leaking secrets

By News Desk

The Edo State House of Assembly has impeached the state’s deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, for engaging in perjury and leaking of the government’s secrets.

Shaibu was shown the exit door after the lawmakers adopting report submitted before it by the seven-man panel setup to probe allegations of perjury and leaking of the government’s secrets made against him.

The lawmakers adopted the report submitted by the panel led by Justice S. A. Omonuwa (retd), on Monday during plenary session on the floor of the house.

Adoption of the report immediately change the political atmosphere in Edo State, ending a long-drawn drama between immediate past deputy governor and the Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The impeachment move which began months ago was initiated following the soured relationship between Obaseki and Shaibu,

Shaibu’s impeachment followed the adoption of the report of a seven-man committee set up by the chief judge of Edo State Justice Daniel Okungbowa to investigate allegations of misconduct against the deputy governor.

During plenary at the assembly complex in Benin City, the Edo State capital, the Majority Leader of the House Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry presented to the House had two findings and one recommendation.

Aiguobarueghian said that while the report of the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury levelled against the deputy governor, the panel found him guilty of disclosure of government secrets.

According to the report, the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on grounds of disclosure of government secrets.

The Clerk of the House Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

Eighteen out of 19 members present during plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the head count and voting process.

The clerk of the House stated that 2/3 (16 members of the House) was needed to carry out the impeachment.

The assembly then upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and subsequently impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker Blessing Agbebaku has since directed Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Governor Godwin Obaseki for his assent.

Monday’s impeachment comes as a Federal High Court in Abuja was to resume sitting in the lawsuit filed by Shaibu to challenge the Edo State House of Assembly’s plan to impeach him.

But in a swift reaction to his impeachment, Shaibu faulted the move which he said is a threat to the country’s democracy.

In a video post, the impeached Shaibu accused the lawmakers of failing the state and those who elected them.

Last week, the Edo House of Assembly started the impeachment proceedings against Shaibu. Twenty-one of the 24 lawmakers signed a petition to that effect.

During its plenary last Tuesday, the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly Blessing Agbebaku told the lawmakers that the seven-day ultimatum granted Shaibu to respond to the impeachment notice served on him had expired.

The speaker reminded the lawmakers that the impeachment notice was served on Shaibu on March 6, 2024. But due to what he described as the deputy governor’s alleged evasion of service, the Edo House of Assembly ordered a substituted service.

Agbebaku said the substituted service was published in the Nigerian Observer and the Vanguard Newspapers on March 12, 2024. He said March 19, 2024, made it seven days.

The Majority Leader of the Edo House of Assembly Charity Aiguobarueghan then moved a motion that Justice Okungbowa be directed to set up a committee to probe the petition against Shaibu.

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