Court restrains LG from banning sale, consumption of alcohol in Kaduna

Hoteliers and Beer Parlours Proprietors Association (HBPPA) in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Zaria, Kaduna State, has dragged the council area to court over plans to outlaw sale and consumption of alcohol in the area.

The hoteliers had on June 11, through one of their counsels, Mr Solomon Kaine applied and obtained a court order, from the High Court sitting in Zaria restraining the local government from passing a bill on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the area.

The judge, Justice Kabir Sabo had adjourned the case to Tuesday, June 23 “for hearing of the substantive application.”

The court, however, did not sit on Tuesday.

While speaking with newsmen, the counsel, Mr Kaine said: “We took the Sabon Gari Local government Area to court because it has the power to regulate but it does not have the power to stop sale and consumption of alcohol.

“So, we want the court to stop the local government from harassing the hoteliers and as well as to stop them from enacting such law.”

Tribune Online recalls that there was tension in Zaria in October 2019 over plans to outlaw the sale and consumption of beer and alcohol. The council was also said to have proposed a bill in a bid to enact such law in the LG.

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The Sabon Gari Local Government had sent letters dated October 21, 2019, inviting hotel owners and liquor sellers to the hearing of the proposed bill.

During the hearing in October, the hotel owners and liquor sellers, represented by their lawyer, Mr Daniel Peter, noted that local governments in Nigeria have the powers to license, regulate and control the sale of liquor, but he argued that they lack powers to prohibit the sale of liquor or consumption of beer.

While pointing out that sections 5 and 6 of the said bill clearly prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol, he noted that it was outside the legislative powers of local governments.

He further argued that the sections were clearly stated in the fourth schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and “therefore ultra vires and not within the legislative competence of LGs.”

Instead, Kaine recommended that “the proposed Bill should, in fact, be on licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor as clearly stated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and not to prohibit sale and consumption of alcohol.”

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