Court declares dissolution of elected Councilors by Governor Lalong illegal

Plateau State Governor Rt. Hon. Simon Bako LalongThe controversy and legal tussles over the appointment of 17 Management Committee Chairmen and Councilors to run affairs of the seventeen local government areas of Plateau State has taken another dimension following the pronouncement of the State High Court sitting in Jos that Governor Simon Lalong has no power to sack the councilors, he sacked in 2015.

It would be recalled that Governor Simon Lalong had in 2015 dissolved the democratically elected Local Government chairmen and councilors. The dissolved chairmen and Councilors had instituted separate suit against the governor action before the State High Court in Jos, Plateau State.

Apart from this, the People Democratic Party in the State recently also filed a suit at the State High Court over the appointment of another set of Management Committee Chairmen and part time councilors instead of conducting local government election.

Ruling on whether or not Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has powers to dissolve elected Local Government councilors in the state. Justice David Mann of the State High Court said the Governor has no such power, also set aside the Local Government Law which the Governor relied upon to remove the democratically elected council officials.

Justice David Mann said that section 41 sub sections 4 of 2007 Local Government Laws of the state which empowers the Governor to dissolve the council officials is at variance with section 7 of the 1999 constitution as amended and therefore null and void.

According to the judge, the 2007 Local Government Laws which was amended in 2008 only stipulates two year tenure for the councilors adding that since the councilors were elected in 2014, their two year tenure ought to have expired in 2016.

Council to the plaintiff, Gyang ZI said although there was no consequential order by the court to reinstate the ousted councilors, his clients have been vindicated by the court’s pronouncement declaring the action of the Governor as illegal.

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