THE PLOT to remove Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) from office via impeachment processes thickens over the weekend.
Last week, lawmakers of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, extraction had staged a walkout from the hallow chambers when the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan blocked the move to raise impeachment process.
Within hours after the walkout, some All Progressives Congress, APC senators voiced out their supports for the impeachment processes.
What was stated as reason is the debilitating level of security in Nigeria. Within a spate of a month, Kuje Maximum Prison was successfully attacked, where scores of prisoners were released; advance convoy of the President was attacked leaving some police officers and men dead, the elite Presidential Guard was attacked and a threat was issued to kidnap the president and Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el Rufai.
The senators were yet to move the motion of impeachment but gave the president six weeks to right the course of the security architecture. This move was quickly followed by a call of the security heads by the leadership of the Senate.
However, a kite was flown during the week that the proposed impeachment action has been rested.
The senators insisted that they were still on course and the Senator representing Osun West added that, “we will remove the Senate President first”.
The timeline for removal of the president has also been cited as an impending block but the constitution stipulates that within four months if the lawmakers can put their acts together, the president can still be impeached before the end of his tenure in May 2023.
The process of impeachment as listed by the constitution is stated thus:
“(1)The President or Vice-President may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.
“(2) Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly:-
(a) is presented to the President of the Senate;
(b) stating that the holder of the office of President or Vice-President is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified,
the President of the Senate shall within seven days of the receipt of the notice cause a copy thereof to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the National Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the National Assembly.
“(3) Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the President of the Senate (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice) each House of the National Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.
“(4) A motion of the National Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed, unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly.
“(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.
“(6) The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person and be represented before the Panel by legal practitioners of his own choice.
“(7) A Panel appointed under this section shall –
(a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the National Assembly; and
(b) within three months of its appointment report its findings to each House of the National Assembly.
“(8) Where the Panel reports to each House of the National Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
“(9) Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report at the House the National Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of each House of the National Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
“(10) No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the National Assembly or any matter relating thereto shall be entertained or questioned in any court”.