THE Supreme Court on Friday, December 16, dismissed an appeal filed by Murtala Nyako, a former governor of Adamawa, seeking reinstatement to complete his tenure of office. Nyako was on July 15, 2014, impeached as governor of the state after spending three of the four years in office.
The seven-man panel led by Justice Tanko Muhammad ruled that the appeal was lacking in merit. “This court agrees with the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal that declared Nyako’s removal from office as illegal. We also hold onto the decision of the lower court that failed to reinstate the appellant because of the special facts of the case,’’ Muhammad said. The judge said the appeal had to fail because Nyako’s counsel compromised the case at the lower court when he withdrew the prayer seeking the former governor’s reinstatement. “There could be no ground of appeal when a litigant’s case was compromised by his or her counsel and on that score alone the appeal has to fail.
“However, the remedy by the court of appeal ordering the payment of salaries and other entitlements accruable to the appellant for the period he was illegally removed from office was in order,’’ he said. “There will never be a forum again where that issue of reinstatement would be raised again, and to that extent, that informs my dismissal of the appeal in its entirety,’’ Muhammad said.
Nyako had, through Olukoya Ogungbeje, his counsel, filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court, Yola, challenging his removal from office by the state’s House of Assembly.
In his judgment on the suit on May 21, 2015, Justice Balkisu Aliyu struck out the case. The judge held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it. Dissatisfied with the outcome of the proceeding at the trial court, Nyako approached the Court of Appeal in Yola, to challenge the decision of the court. Nyako, after the filing of the appeal went on to brief, Ibrahim Isiaku SAN, a new counsel to lead his legal team. The confusion ensued at the point of adoption of written addresses when it was held that Isiaku had withdrawn the prayer seeking the ex-governor’s reinstatement.
Justice Jummai Sankey delivering the decision of the Court of Appeal, Yola, on February 11, held that the court set aside the decision of the trial court to hear the suit on its merit. The appeal court had gone ahead to declare Nyako’s removal as unconstitutional as the impeachment proceedings were conducted in breach of his rights to fair hearing. Sankey, therefore, ordered the Adamawa government to pay all salaries, allowances and other entitlements to Nyako for the period he was illegally removed from office.
— Dec 26, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT