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Court refuses to halt Edo deputy gov’s impeachment

A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused to stop the impeachment move against Edo State Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu, by the State House of Assembly.

Justice James Omotosho on Wednesday refused Shaibu’s application for an order of status quo to be maintained by the House of Assembly and others involved in the impeachment saga.

Shaibu’s counsel, Professor Olawoyin Awoyale (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.

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In reaction, Justice Omotoso held that the cited authority was not applicable in the 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, Justice Omotosho 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.

Deputy Governor Shaibu, who attended the proceedings had in the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/321/2024, joined 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) in the suit 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.

This is the second time the judge refused to grant an application to stop the alleged impeachment moves.

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