Protesters spilled out into the streets of Yola, the Adamawa State capital, following the impeachment notice served Wednesday by the state House of Assembly on the governor, Murtala Nyako, and his deputy, Bala James Ngillari, for gross misconduct .
Nineteen out of the 25 members of the Assembly were said to have signed the impeachment notice after the motion moved by the member representing Numan Constituency, Mr. Kwamoti Laori, who accused the governor of committing acts of gross misconduct in the performance of his duties in the state.
Laori, who doubles as the deputy speaker of the assembly, based his motion on 20 charges of financial misconduct by the governor, notable among which was the fraudulent award of a contract of over N8 billion through SNECOU Group of Companies Limited, a company linked to one of the governor’s wives to siphon public funds without delivering the project.
Other charges against the governor included the corrupt siphoning of the sum of N300 million public funds through a company, Hydro Source Resources Limited, for the construction of the Mubi bye-pass road.
The company was alleged to have been mobilised but never moved to the site or carried out the construction work after collecting the sum.
Another charge levelled against the governor was gross violation of his oath of office by the outrageous patronage and dominance of family and friends in the discharge of government businesses as exemplified in the Office of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SPPU and Ministry of Health.
According to the state assembly, the MDGs’ office in Adamawa State is managed by Nyako’s close relations and squandered N220 million and N786,457,644.94 budgeted state funds in 2013 for the implementation of MDG programmes in the state.
Others were: “Squandering the sum of N4,805,216,538.32 and N7,114,995,590.85 in 2012 and 2013 respectively through the Office of the Secretary to the State Government against budgetary approval, and not in the interest of people of Adamawa State.
“Gross violation of Section 120 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and gross misappropriation and diversion of internally generated revenue for personal use to the detriment of the people of Adamawa state.
“Expenditure of the exorbitant sum of N2.5b as ‘Other Miscellaneous Expenses’ through the Internal Affairs and Special Services Department; and diversion of over N400 million out of the N500 million Federal Government Intervention Fund for flood victims in Adamawa State in 2011.
“Abuse of office and violation of Adamawa State Law by appointing his wife, Dr. Halima H Nyako, as the Chairman Adamawa State Action Committee on AIDS contrary to SACA. Accordingly, Nyako’s government is popularly nicknamed ‘Government of Family and Friends’.
“Overbearing strangulation of the local government areas and extortion of local government funds in the name of joint projects and security challenges in Mubi and other parts of Adamawa State.
“This leaves many local governments with nothing to pay worker’s entitlements. The governor also consistently contravenes Section 168 (60 and 8) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
While moving the motion for the impeachment of the deputy governor, Ngillari, also on grounds of financial misconduct, Hon. Abdulkarim Umar, representing Narrasawo/Binyeri constituency, listed six grounds for the notice.
He alleged that the deputy governor committed acts of gross misconduct in the performance of his duties by diverting public funds to the tune of N50 million released to him by the state Ministry of Finance.
The funds, the lawmaker alleged, were released to the deputy governor based on the instructions of Nyako for the acquisition of a licence for the exploration of sold minerals in the state.
Also, Ngillari was accused of extra-budgetary expenditure to the tune of N397,311,559.05.
However, Nyako’s supporters stormed the streets of Yola, asking the state assembly to rescind its resolution on the impeachment notice.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Adamawa House of Assembly why impeachment now?” “The House of Assembly wants to truncate the fragile peace in the state”, “You just passed a vote of confidence on the governor and his administration, why the sudden change now?”
Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama, who led a set of protesters through the police roundabout, Government House Road and Jimeta metropolis, said the assembly members were acting the script of the presidency.
He queried why the impeachment notice was impraticable since the assembly members were yet to complete their investigations in ministries, parastatals and contractors.
Also speaking on the impeachment notice, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Nyako, Mallam Ahmad Sajo, said the governor was not aware of the move and it remained in the realm of a wild speculation.
Despite the ignorance of the impeachment notice projected by the Adamawa State Government, the governor’s plane was grounded yesterday at the Yola Airport and denied flight by aviation authorities, forcing the governor to travel by road to Abuja via Gombe.
However, the impeachment notice got the support of a group – Save Adamawa State Movement (SASM) – which welcomed the development, stating that it was long overdue.
The group, in a press statement issued in Abuja yesterday, said all the facts adduced by the legislators were key issues its members had been raising for the past two years.
The statement, which was signed by the acting National Coordinator of the group, Dr. Pally Poga, said SASM resorted to court action to let the whole world know of Nyako’s misrule and lawless governance that become legendary and thereby brought down the whole state.
Poga said: “We had called for his resignation and or impeachment time and time again. Now that the gross maladministration, overbearing family and friends governance have weighed heavily on the citizens, we applaud the bold steps taken by the members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly.”
Meanwhile, as Nyako battles for survival, he may be joined by his counterpart in Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, who sources said could face an impeachment plot set to be hatched by the six Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the state assembly.