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Impeachment: How Shaibu leaked govt secrets, Assembly tells panel

The Edo State House of Assembly clarified on Wednesday the alleged actions by the state’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, which it claimed constituted impeachable offenses including leaking government secrets and committing perjury.

Represented by its Deputy Clerk, Joe Ohaifa, the Assembly presented its case during the inaugural sitting of the seven-man panel tasked with probing Shaibu. This panel, chaired by retired Justice S.A. Omonuwa, was established by Edo State Chief Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, following impeachment proceedings initiated by the Assembly against the deputy governor on March 5.

The Assembly asserted that the impeachment proceedings stemmed from a petition accusing Shaibu of perjury and disclosing government secrets. This move is seen as the latest development in the ongoing conflict between Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Detailing the Assembly’s case, Deputy Clerk Ohaifa alleged that Shaibu leaked sensitive state information in an affidavit submitted for an Abuja lawsuit, including documents from State Executive Council meetings. Ohaifa contended that Shaibu’s actions violated the Oath of Secrecy and contravened provisions outlined in Schedule 7 of the 1999 Constitution.

After hearing the Assembly’s presentation, the panel adjourned until the next day for Shaibu to present his defense. However, Shaibu’s lawyer, Prof. Oladoyin Awoyale (SAN), withdrew from the proceedings after the panel rejected his request to suspend the hearings.

Awoyale argued for a halt in the impeachment proceedings pending a decision from the Federal High Court in Abuja, scheduled for April 8. Despite this, the Deputy Clerk, citing Section 188(10) of the 1999 Constitution, asserted that no court could interfere with the constitutional duties of the House of Assembly or the panel.

In his ruling, Justice Omonuwa agreed with the Deputy Clerk, clarifying that the court’s invitation for parties to appear was not an order to suspend the impeachment proceedings. Awoyale, subsequently, excused himself from further participation, emphasizing the need to comply with the court’s directive.

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