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Evidence of Government Secret Leaks by Shaibu Revealed by Assembly

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During the inaugural sitting of the seven-man panel investigating Philip Shaibu, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, the Edo State House of Assembly disclosed how Shaibu allegedly shared confidential government information and committed perjury, which are considered impeachable offenses.

The panel, led by retired Justice S.A. Omonuwa, was established by Edo State Chief Judge Justice Daniel Okungbowa following impeachment proceedings initiated by the state Assembly on March 5 against the deputy governor.

The Assembly cited a petition accusing Shaibu of perjury and disclosure of government secrets as reasons for the impeachment proceedings.

This impeachment action appears to stem from ongoing tensions between Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Friction between the deputy governor and the governor heightened last year when Shaibu announced his candidacy for the Edo governorship race.

The Deputy Clerk outlined the Assembly’s case, stating that Shaibu divulged state secrets in an affidavit submitted for an Abuja lawsuit.

He mentioned that Shaibu exposed documents related to the State Executive Council’s meetings.

Ohaifa emphasized that Shaibu breached the Oath of Secrecy and acted contrary to the provisions of Schedule 7 of the 1999 Constitution.

After hearing the Assembly’s argument, the panel adjourned until today (Thursday) for Shaibu to present his defense.

Earlier in the proceedings, Shaibu’s lawyer, Prof. Oladoyin Awoyale (SAN), withdrew from the hearing after the panel rejected his request to pause the proceedings.

Awoyale urged the panel to halt the impeachment process pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Shaibu in the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Deputy Clerk opposed the request, citing Section 188(10) of the 1999 Constitution, which he argued prevents courts from interfering with the House of Assembly’s constitutional duties.

Ohiafi insisted that Shaibu’s lawyer must prove that the constitutional provision had been modified for his argument to be valid.

In his ruling, Justice Omonuwa concurred with Ohiafi, clarifying that the notice to show cause was not a directive to halt the impeachment process.

Justice Omonuwa asserted that the panel would proceed with the hearings and requested the House of Assembly to present its case.

Following the ruling, Awoyale informed the panel that his client would not continue participating in the investigation and asked for permission to leave.

When questioned about waiving his right to defend his client, Awoyale denied and stressed the importance of adhering to the court’s decision to show cause on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Subsequently, the SAN exited the proceedings.

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