•Lawmakers jittery of stunning revelations at panel’s sitting
Determined to prove his innocence, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, has offered to waive off his immunity to appear before the seven-man investigative panel on alleged mismanagement of state funds.
But it was learnt yesterday that members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly have become jittery following likely stunning revelations about their financial demands.
Some of the disclosures might include certain documents already before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that in spite of the setting up of a nine-man legal team to defend the 16 allegations against him, Governor Al-Makura has waived off his right to immunity in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution to testify before the panel.
Barring last minute change of mind, the governor may testify before the panel on Monday.
A highly-placed source said: “The panel will begin the public sitting on Monday; all parties have been notified, including the House of Assembly.
“We learnt the Assembly might boycott the open session because it has rejected two out of the seven members of the panel.
“But the most surprising is the decision of the governor to appear before the committee to respond to issues and place all facts before the committee on the allegations against him.
“The governor is determined to set a record to account for his stewardship and to prove to the people of the state that he did not steal their money.
“This is a governor who declared over N20billion assets and cash to the Code of Conduct Bureau when he assumed office. The records are there, anyone can apply for his Assets Declaration Form.
“For two or three months when he took over, the state could not afford to pay workers’ salaries and he used his personal money to offset some bills of the state.
“The governor has been saying that in what way could he have sacrificed for the state. The people of the state will hear a lot.
“As I talk to you, the governor does not begrudge the lawmakers. He is ready to meet with them in order to move the state forward.”
Contacted yesterday, Governor Al-Makura simply said: “I think I will make first appearance on Monday, and then my counsel can thereafter take over.
“I hope my counsel will allow me to have the first shot before they go ahead with the legal representation.”
He refused to talk further insisting that he has tremendous respect for the House of Assembly and constitutional guidelines on the ongoing impeachment proceedings against him.
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.”
Meanwhile, members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly were said to be jittery about the likely stunning revelations on their financial demands and expenditures which might be presented to the panel by the government and stakeholders.
Another source added: “Everyone is excited about the decision of the panel to subject the sitting to public hearing. All the facts and documents will be laid on the table for the people of the state to judge.
“At least people will have the knowledge of what comes to the state monthly; how it is disbursed and the projects already carried out by the government.
“The breakdown of funds, including extra-budgetary cash, spent on the lawmakers will also be known to the public.”