From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Matthew Kolawole has declared that neither he nor the House can be used in the alleged plot by the executive arm of government to sack the embattled Kogi State Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah as being speculated in some quarters.
The Speaker also debunked the insinuations that the Governor Yahaya Bello led executive was using the House of Assembly to remove the Chief judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah.
The speaker who spoke in an interactive session with the members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Lokoja at the weekend, said the investigation of the house committee on public accounts was as a result of the auditor-general’s report on the 2015/2016 finances the judiciary.
He said the decision of the House had nothing to do with the executive-judiciary faceoff that had been on since last year.
Kolawole indicated that the report of the auditor-general had indicted the judiciary for spending more than the amount appropriated to it by the house, saying that it was wrong to have linked the action of the House to the rift that cropped up as a result of the table payment arrangement adopted by the state government for the payment of staff salary.
The speaker explained that the Public accounts committee of the house invited the Chief judge on three occasions to defend the allegations but he failed to honour the invitations.
He said such action under the Constitution amounted to gross misconduct, saying this is one of the offences for which a Chief judge could be removed from office.
Kolawole noted that the assembly did not defy any court order by going ahead with the activities of the committee on public accounts, stressing that the issue was never before any court of competent jurisdiction.
According to him, the issue that was taken before the Koton Karfe court by the embattled Chief judge was the one that originated from the letter written to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), seeking the intervention of the house in the crisis over the pay parade.
Kolawole however, expressed worries over the action of the other court, saying the order was granted when the courts in the state was on strike.
He said the Constitution of the country empowered the House to investigate how the arms of government and it’s agencies spend funds that were appropriated to them.
On the timing of the House’s decision, the speaker said it was only coincidental that it came when the executive and the judiciary had a face off, adding that the public accounts committee had started work before the impasse between the two arms of government.