Court sets aside suspension of LG boss in Niger for lack of due process

A State High Court sitting in Minna, has set aside the purported suspension of the Chairman, Shiroro Local Government Council,  Comrade Suleiman Dauda Chukuba as earlier pronounced by the Council Legislature  recently in the state over an alleged financial impropriety levelled against the council boss.

The Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Mohammed Adishetu Mohammed of High Court 4, Minna, while handing down his judgement on a suit filed against the defendants in the matter, ruled that the council legislature failed to follow the due process in the suspension of the chairman and declared their action as null and void.

Tribune Online gathered that with this judgment, that the Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik-led, Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to investigate the embattled Chairman of Shiroro local government Council, Comrade Suleiman Dauda Chukuba may have suffered a huge setback.

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The Counsel to the plaintiff, Barr. Musa Suleiman of Summit Chambers,Minna  has approached the court and sought for the following reliefs:

Joined in the suit no. NSHC/ Kuta/06/2021: include Leader, Shiroro local government legislative council, Shiroro local government, Vice Chairman, Shiroro local government, Speaker, Niger state House of Assembly, Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Executive Governor of Niger State,Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello respectively. 

“Whether by virtue of section 7(1), and(4), of the1999 Constitution as amended and the Niger State local government 200, the plaintiff can be removed from his office as the Executive chairman of Shiroro local government area of the  state without following the laid down procedure in the Niger State local government law.”

“Whether the Executive Governor of Niger State and the Niger State House of Assembly have powers under the Constitution and the local government law to participate in the procedure in respect of the removal of the plaintiff as the extant chairman of Shiroro local government area of Niger State.

“Whether the purported powers of the Executive Governor of Niger State to set up an Investigating committee under section 31(3),(4)and(5) under the Niger state local government  law, 2013 made by the Niger House of assembly to remove the plaintiff as the extant chairman of Shiroro local government area of Niger State is null, void and unconstitutional.”

Whether the Executive Governor of Niger State can set up an investigating committee after the expiration of 14 days of receipt of the resolution from the Shiroro local government legislative council to investigate the plaintiff for misconduct.”

Justice Mohammed Adishetu Mohammed declared in his judgement delivered last Monday, 22nd March,2021,  that in view of the provisions of section 7(1) of 1999 constitution and section 31 of Niger State local government law 2013, as amended, the plaintiff cannot be removed from his office as the Executive chairman of Shiroro local government of Niger State without being given the opportunity of responding to the allegations against him by the members of the legislative arm of the Shiroro local government council.

Justice Mohammed A. Mohammed equally declared that by virtue of section 7(1) of 1999 constitution as amended, the plaintiff cannot be removed from office until and unless the  governor has exercised his powers to set up an Investigating  committee to investigate the allegations against him after the adoption of the report of the committee by the 2nd defendant before his removal as the Chairman  of Shiroro local government Council  of Niger State as he was elected democratically by the electorate of Shiroro local government of Niger State.

”That section 31(3), (4) and (5) of local government law 2013 has preserved the right to fair hearing of the plaintiff and its contravention by the 2nd defendant amounts to violation of section 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 ( as amended).

Justice Mohammed further avered that the suspension and or removal of the plaintiff by the 2nd defendant pursuant to its meeting of 29th December 2020 is unconstitutional, illegal null and void.

Declaring further that the appointment of the 3rd defendant by the 2nd defendant as the acting Chairman of Shiroro local government was null and void, hilighting  that all steps and actions taken by the 2nd and 7th defendants in furtherance of the meeting of the 2nd on 29 December 2020, are hereby declared null and void.

Justice Mohammed averred further that all steps and actions taken and or directives given in furtherance of the meeting which was held by the 2nd defendant on 29th December 2020 were hereby set aside.

“The 6th and 7th defendants are hereby directed to pay to the plaintiff all his entitlements which were due to him prior to the suspension. An order of perpetual injunction is hereby given against all the defendants and anybody whatsoever restraining  them from interfering with the plaintiff from performing his constitutional functions as the executive chairman of Shiroro local government area of Niger State,” he ruled.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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