by crossriverwatch admin
Cross River State High Court sitting in Calabar today voided the February 28, 2012 impeachment of Mr. Krees Ojonde, the Vice Chairman of Boki Local Government.
His Lordship, Justice Obojong Ogar amongst other considerations, held that it was unlawful for the Councilors to conduct the impeachment proceedings in Kakwagom Customary Court which was outside the Boki Legislative Chamber in Doje, the capital of Boki Local Government.
The Court also held that the impeachment proceedings infringed on the provision of the Electoral Act that requires the State Chief Judge to constitute a panel within seven days to consider the allegations against an accused once notice has been served on the accused person.
The panel that impeached Mr. Ojong was constituted forty eight days after the notice of impeachment was served on him.
The Court therefore declared the impeachment of Mr. Krees Ojong by Councillors of Boki Legislative Council on February 28, 2012 as null and void and ordered his immediate reinstatement.
Counsel to the Vice Chairman, Barrister Utum Eteng, told crossriverwatch after the judgment was delivered that it was a good sign for our democracy. “I am very delighted. The judgment is a good sign that our democracy is growing. There was a very stupid way of some five or seven people just sitting down and putting pressure on the Executive to bring money or things like that, and when you refuse, they go ahead and use illegalities to impeach you. This judgment will set precedence for local government administration in Cross River State. It is a well considered judgment”.
The Leader of the Boki Legislative council who led the impeachment squad in a telephone conversation with crossriverwatch simply said, “I have been hearing rumors going round that a Court has quashed the impeachment of the former Vice Chairman. For now, I have no comment. When I confirm, I will get back to you”.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Attah Ochinke also told crossriverwatch that he will not speak on speculations. “I am just hearing that from you now. I will need to confirm the information before I react. If I answer you now, that will be speculation”. He said.
The elated Vice Chairman in his reaction told crossriverwatch that “I feel very great that the judiciary is living up to expectation. It gives us hope that we can get justice when we are cheated. This will also be a lesson to all local governments in the State that the Legislature should not be used as a tool to blackmail the Executive”.
He dedicated his victory at the Court to the Almighty God, the widows and orphans who stood by him through the period.
The Vice Chairman, Mr. Chris Ojong was alleged to have committed seven impeachable offences including, penchant for making trouble, diversion of forty thousand Naira revenue to his personal account, refusal to honor invitations and summons by the House amongst others.
A committee was constituted that found him guilty of three of the seven offences; consequently, he was impeached on February 28, 2012.
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