Supreme Court on Friday
dismissed an appeal brought before it by
a former Governor of Adamawa State, Muritala Nyako, seeking an order
reinstating him to office to enable him to complete his truncated second
The former governor still had ten
months left to spend in office when he was removed by the Adamawa State House
of Assembly on July 15, 2014.
The seven-member panel of justices
of the apex court held in its judgment that it agreed with the earlier decision
of the Court of Appeal that declared Nyako’s removal from office as illegal,
but that it was unable to reinstate him because of the “special facts” of the
case while it was before the lower court.
The apex court explained in its
lead judgment read by Justice Dattijo Mohammed that the appeal had to fail
because Nyako’s lawyer had compromised the case at the Court of Appeal by
withdrawing the prayer seeking the ex-governor’s reinstatement.
Justice Mohammed held that a lawyer
was entitled to, “conduct, compromise or withdraw” his or her client’s case,
but that there could be no ground of appeal when a litigant’s case was
compromised by his or her lawyer.On that score alone the appeal fails,” Justice
The Justice of the Supreme Court
said the remedy approved by the appeal court by ordering the payment of
salaries and other entitlements accruable to the ex-governor for the period he
was illegally removed from office, was in order.
The court ruled that Nyako had to
continue to bear as his cross the compromise of his case by his lawyer when the
said counsel voluntarily withdrew the prayer for the ex-governor’s reinstatement
before the Court of Appeal.
“Because of the special facts
enunciated in this appeal, that fact of compromising his case by his counsel is
a cross that the appellant (Nyako) will continue to bear.
“So, there will never be a forum
again where that issue of reinstatement would be raised again, and to that
extent, that informs my dismissal of the appeal in its entirety”, the court
Justice Tanko Muhammad and other
members of the apex court’s panel, comprising Justices Clara Ogunbiyi, Mary
Peter-Odili, Chima Nweze and Amir Sanusi, agreed with the lead judgment prepared
by Justice Dattijo Mohammed.
Respondents to Nyako’s appeals were
the Adamawa State House of Assembly, the Chairman of the seven-man panel that
recommended the removal of the ex-governor to the Adamawa State House of
Assembly, Buba Kaigama, and the Inspector-General of Police.
Nyako had through his lawyer,
Olukoya Ogungbeje, filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit before the
Yola Division of the Federal High Court challenging his removal from office by
the state’s House of Assembly.
But Justice Balkisu Aliyu, in her
judgment delivered on May 21, 2015, struck out the case, refusing to hear it on
merit on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.The
former governor, however, after the filing of the case before the Court of
Appeal in Yola, briefed Mr. Ibrahim Isiaku
(SAN), to lead Ogungbeje in his legal team.
At the point of adoption of briefs
by parties to the appeal, Isiaku was said to have withdrawn the prayer seeking
the ex-governor’s reinstatement.
In its judgment delivered on
February 11, 2016, a five-man panel of the Court of Appeal in Yola led by
Justice Jummai Sankey, set aside the decision of the Federal High Court in Yola
declining to hear the case and went ahead to consider the merit of the appeal
filed by the former governor.
The appeal court in the said
judgment declared Nyako’s removal as unconstitutional as the impeachment
proceedings were conducted in breach of his rights to fair hearing.
The Court of Appeal, whose lead
judgment was prepared by Justice Tunde Awotoye, ordered Adamawa State
Government to pay to the ex-governor all his accrual salaries, allowances and
other entitlements for the period he was illegally removed from office.
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed
with the decision of the appeal court but held that Nyako had no valid appeal
against the lower court’s judgment since the prayer he sought to be granted by
the apex court had been withdrawn by his lawyer before the lower court.