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Again, court refuses to stop impeachment proceedings against Philip Shaibu

For the second time, a Federal High Court in Abuja has
refused to stop the impeachment moves initiated against Edo State Deputy
Governor, Mr Phillip Shaibu, by the State House of Assembly.

 

At Wednesday’s proceedings, his request for an order of
status quo to be maintained by the House of Assembly and others involved in the
impeachment saga was turned down by Justice James Kolawole Omotoso.

 

Shaibu, through his lawyer, Professor Olawoyin Awoyale, a
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, had orally requested for an order of status
quo to be maintained by parties pending the hearing and determination of his
motion on notice.

 

The senior lawyer, while attempting to convince the court to
issue the order, cited an authority to back up the application.

 

In reaction, Justice Omotoso held that the cited authority
was not applicable in Shaibu’s case because the Governor of Edo State and the
Edo State House of Assembly, who are the principal actors in the impeachment
bid, have not been served with the originating summons of the suit as required
by law.

 

However, the judge granted the request that the Edo State
Governor and the State House of Assembly be served with the originating summons
by substituted means.

 

Specifically, Justice Omotoso ordered that the court process
be pasted at the entrance gate of the Edo State Government House and the gate
of the State House of Assembly Complex, both in Benin.

 

Besides, the judge also directed that all court papers be
served on parties in the matter with the use of a registered courier company.

 

Justice Omotoso subsequently fixed April 15 for hearing of
the case.

 

The Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu, who was in the
courtroom throughout Wednesday’s proceedings, declined to speak with newsmen.

 

In the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/321/2024, the Edo State
Government, Edo State Governor, Edo State House of Assembly, Edo State House of
Assembly Speaker, the Clerk of the Assembly, the Chief Judge of Edo State,
Inspector General of Police IGP and Director General of the Department of State
Services, DSS, were listed as the first to eighth defendants.

 

Shaibu, in the suit, sought an order of the court
restricting the third to fifth defendants from commencing any process by
issuing a notice of allegation, holding proceedings, or setting up any panel of
investigation for his removal, pending the hearing of a motion on notice.

 

He also sought an interim injunction restraining the
defendants, whether by themselves or their agents, from interfering with the
subject matter of the originating summons filed in the suit either by way of
taking any adverse actions in relation to any attempt or process targeted at
his removal from office as the deputy governor of Edo State, pending the
hearing of the motion on notice.

 

Other reliefs sought are: “An order of interim injunction
restraining the 1st to 8th defendants, whether by themselves, their agents,
privies, servants, officials, representatives, and or any other person or
authority acting through them, from preventing the plaintiff either by threat
of removal from office or adverse actions capable of hindering the plaintiff
from performing his official duties and discharging his responsibilities as the
Deputy Governor of Edo State, including attending State Executive Council
meetings, functions and other duties.

 

“An order of interim injunction directing the defendants
herein jointly, whether by themselves, their agents, privies, servants,
officials, representatives, or any other person or authority acting through
them, to maintain status quo ante bellum prevailing before the issuance of the
purported notice or petition to commence removal of the Plaintiff from office
pending the hearing and the final determination of the motion on notice. ”

 

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