The State High Court 4 presided by Justice Mohammed Adishetu Mohammed in a ruling set aside the suspension of Shiroro Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Suleiman Dauda Chukuba.
The embattled Chairmab was suspended by Shiroro LG’s legislative House for alledged embezzlement of N50 million tenement fee meant for the Council.
The ruling may likely cause a setback to the Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik Judicial Commission of inquiry investigating the suspended Chairman.
The Judge submitted that “the council legislature failed to follow the due procedures in the suspension of the Chairman and declared their action as null and void.”
The counsel to the plaintiff, Barrister Musa Suleiman of the Summit chamber has approached the court and sought for the following reliefs:
Joint 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.
“Whether by virtue of section 7(1), and (4), of the1999 Constitution as amended and the Niger State Local Government, 2001, the plaintiff can be removed from his office as the Executive Chairman of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger 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 power 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 declared in the judgement delivered Monday 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.
It 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 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 amount to violation of section 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 ( as amended).
Justice Mohammed further averred that the suspension and or removal of the plaintiff by the 2nd defendant pursuant to its meeting of 29jth December, 2020 is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
Declaring further, Justice Mohammed said that the appointment of the 3Rd defendant by the 2nd defendant as the acting chairman of Shiroro Local Government is null and void, adding that all steps and actions taken by the 2nd and 7th defendants in furtherance of the meeting of the 2nd defendant on 29th December 2020, are hereby declared null and void.
“The 6th and 7th defendants are hereby directed to pay to the plaintiffs 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 of Niger State”, the Judge ruled.
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