A Federal High Court in Abuja has scheduled a hearing for March 10 in a suit by the Zamfara State Deputy Governor, Mahadi Aliyu Gusaau, seeking to stop the House of Assembly from carrying through its plot to impeach him on account of his refusal to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo, chose the date yesterday after ordering parties in the suit marked: FCT/ABJ/CS/to file and exchange all necessary processes ahead of the date.
Lawyer to Gusaau and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) prayed the court for a definite pronouncement, ordering parties to maintain the status quo in view of the increasing threat to impeach his client despite the pendency of the suit. Ukala said the court could, in the alternative, direct Mike Ozekhome (SAN), lawyer to the key defendants – Zamfara State Governor, Mohammed Bello Matawalle; the state’s Chief Judge and Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, to undertake to ensure that his clients take no further steps capable of destroying the subject of the suit.
Ozekhome noted that Ukala only served him the amended originating summons, the motion to revive the status quo, as well as a motion for an interlocutory injunction on February 11, 2022. Ozekhome contended that by the court’s rules, each of his clients was entitled to seven days to respond to both motions and 30 days to respond to the amended originating summons. He argued that the order for the maintenance of status quo granted by the court in July 2021 has since expired after 14 days going by the court’s rules.
Ozekhome added that being a constitutional lawyer, he cannot give an undertaking that will have the effect of preventing the Zamfara State House of Assembly from carrying out its constitutional functions, including impeachment.
Ruling Justice Ekwo held that the application for the maintenance of the status quo and the other processes were not ripe for hearing.
He advised both lawyers that whatever applications or grievances they might have should be kept till the next hearing date. The judge granted Ozekhome seven days each to respond to the two motions and 21 days to respond to the originating summons.
He directed Ukala to file his responses thereafter and adjourned till March 10.