Al-Makura: I’ll face panel today

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 4th, 2014
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Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura and the House of Assembly  are to appear today a panel probing corruption charges against the state’s helmsman.

Al-Makura told our correspondent last night  that he would honour the panel’s summons as a mark of respect for the constitution and the rule of law.

He also said he offered to waive his immunity to demonstrate that he had nothing to hide.

There were indications last night that the Assembly might shun the invitation, after lawmakers’ battle to force a charge of its membership collapsed.

Chief Judge Justice Suleiman Dikko said having complied with Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution, only a competent court could disband the panel.

There are 16 allegations against Al-Makura, which the Assembly is expected to formally present its allegations against the governor to the panel based on an ad hoc committee it had set up. That is the standard procedure.

“After the presentation of the report on the allegations against the governor, the panel will ask Al-Makura and others implicated by the Assembly to respond to the allegations,” a source said.

Al-Makura said: “I have received a notice from the panel and I will appear as a mark of respect for the committee, the 1999 Constitution and the rule of law.

“I will testify to convince Nigerians that I have nothing to hide, despite the frivolous allegations against me.

“ I have my name and integrity to protect not only for personal gains but for posterity. I have served this state to the best of my ability and I want history to vindicate me.

“This is why I have waived my immunity in Section 308 of the constitution.”

Section 308 of the constitution says: “ Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section -

(a) no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office;

(b) a person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either on pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and

(c) no process of any court requiring of compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued;

“Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section apples, no account shall be taken of his period of office.

“The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.

“ This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to “period of office – is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.”

The governor has given instructions to all ministries, departments and agencies to give the members of the House of Assembly all their dues and entitlements.

A source said: “ The governor insisted that the lawmakers must be respected, their salaries and allowances paid as and when due.

“Al-Makura cautioned against vengeance or violence in any form. He said everything must be within the constitution and the rule of law.”

There were indications last night that the Assembly might shun the invitation of the panel if it is not reconstituted.

Another source added: “I think the Assembly might go to court instead of honouring the invitation of the panel. The lawmakers want to seek a court injunction  to restrain the panel from going ahead with its investigation.

“Initially, the Assembly was opposed to the appointment of two members of the panel. But now, the lawmakers have faulted the entire membership of the panel.”


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