Faith Awa Maji, Lafia
The Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, says that the House of Assembly would appeal the judgement nullifying the indictment of the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed Tijani, over an alleged fraud of N248.5 million unaccounted funds for school projects in the State.
Balarabe Abdullahi made this known on Saturday while addressing journalists in Lafia, the State capital.
The assembly’s actions followed August 7 judgement of the State High Court sitting in Akwanga, the headquarters of Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, that nullified the indictment of the former SSG by the House.
The Speaker said that the House has confidence in the Court of Appeal and would get the right judgement accordingly while calling on the people of the State to remain calm and be law abiding over the issue.
It would be recalled that June 2, this year the State House of Assembly ad hoc committee investigating the released of N1 billion for the renovation/fencing of public Secondary Schools in the State in 2018, had indicted the former SSG which it has subsequently asked Ahmed-Tijani to refund over N248.5 million as unaccounted funds to the State Government.
According to the Speaker, some of them were not surprised over the court judgement saying they don’t expect anything less than the High Court Judgement delivered yesterday.
‘This is because we asked series of questions that the former SSG works and resides in Lafia and we have many courts in Lafia and what informed his decision to take the case to the High Court, Akwanga.
‘So we could not get a definite answer but with the outcome of the judgement yesterday, our question is best answered.
‘For us as members of the House, we have monitored the events in Akwanga right from the beginning to yesterday and how can the Judge said that we did not gave the former SSG fair hearing on the matter,’ he added
He further noted that: ‘Some of you the journalists are present when we invited the former SSG to the plenary over the issue, he promised that he will take all responsibility of his actions.
‘And from that, I have also set up a committee to investigate the matter in which they have invited him and he has also promised again that he will take responsibility of any infraction.’
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly Speaker said they have directed their counsels to study the judgement infurtherance for appeal as he assured that, they would get good judgment at the higher level.’
‘It beats one imagination to noticed that the former SSG even have prior noticed of what the outcome of the judgement will look like as he went with his supporters to celebrate the judgment before the court’s decision. Think about it. It is clear,’ the Speaker added.
When asked if he is aware that the corruption allegation against the former SSG is before the EFCC, he answered as thus ‘I cannot speak for the EFCC. EFCC is saddled with the responsibility of investigating corruption charges.
‘We have already uncovered corruption allegation against the former SSG, so EFCC is an independent government agency doing its job at its level which I will not comment on that,’ he said.
It would be recalled that in August 7, a High Court sitting in Akwanga, Nasarawa State declared the indictment of former SSG, Alhaji Aliyu Tijjani, over an alleged fraud of N284.5 million by the House of Assembly as void with reference to fair hearing.
The House had indicted the SSG over alleged N284.5 million school projects’ funds when he was a Commissioner of Education in the State.
The Ex-SSG Ahmed Tijani, challenged the decision of the House over its recommendation that led to his sack by Governor Abdullahi Sule.
Delivering a ruling, Justice Mustapha Ramat, nullified the decision of the House on the grounds that it failed to afford the SSG fair hearing in the matter.
On June 8, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has sacked Ahmed-Tijani as his SSG.
The announcement was contained in a statement issued by Alhaji Hamza Gayam, the Permanent Secretary (PS), Government House Administration.
In a related development, Nasarawa State House of Assembly is to cut short its holiday to hold an emergency sitting on Monday 10th of August to attend to an urgent issue.
A statement by Clerk of the House, Mr Ego Maikeffi Abashe, indicates that the emergency sitting is at the instance of the Speaker Rt Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi.
The statement called on all members of the 6th assembly to attend the emergency sitting unfailingly.
The statement added that the sitting will hold by 10 o’clock in the morning at the assembly complex Shendam Road Lafia.
It would be recalled that members of the State assembly went for sallah holiday and are expected to resume Monday, August 17.