(Daily Trust) Kaduna State Government has directed the suspended chairmen of Chikun and Giwa local governments to go back to their offices with immediate effect, saying that state laws and the Constitution guarantee democratic local government administration.
Daily Trust reported that the directive followed a legal advice from the Chambers of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, which was prompted by a letter sent by the suspended local government chairmen.
It will be recalled that Kaduna State House of Assembly suspended chairmen the two local government chairmen on June 1, 2022, following a motion by the member representing Zaria/Kewaye constituency, Hon Ahmed Mohammed (Chokali), for alleged misappropriation of funds.
Hon Mohammed moved that Hon Salasi Nuhu Musa and Hon Abubakar Lawal, chairmen of Chikun and Giwa local governments respectively, should hand over to their deputies to allow for investigation.
He urged the House to conduct the investigation in line with Section 128 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Daily Trust reported that the suspended chairmen considered their purported suspension as illegal under the Constitution and the laws of Kaduna State. The chairmen swiftly approached the Kaduna State Government on the matter, writing to the Attorney-General of the State to request a legal opinion on the legality or otherwise of their suspension.
The letter of the suspended Giwa local government chairman which was sighted by Daily Trust, was dated June 1, 2022, with reference number GLG/S.15/VOL.II, while that of his Chikun counterpart was dated June 6, 2022, with reference number CKLD/D.10/VOL.I.
In her response to the suspended chairmen, the Attorney General wrote that ‘’we have carefully analysed the clear provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees a system of local government by democratically elected Local Government Councils.’’
‘’In the same vein, Section 8 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enshrines that every state of the federation shall ensure the existence of Local Government Councils through enactment of laws that specify the structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.
‘’In Kaduna state, the Local Government Law No 3 of 2018 which was duly passed by the House of Assembly, is the legislation governing Local Government Administration,’’ she pointed out.
According to the Commissioner of Justice, the law stipulates that ‘’Local Government Councils are an independent organ of government and also have their duly elected legislative councils.’’
Aisha Dikko who is the Attorney General of Kaduna state, categorically stated that ‘’the procedures for the removal of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of a Local Government Council in the state have been clearly spelt out by the Kaduna State Local Government Law 2018.’’
She argued that based on the foregoing and plethora of authorities from the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the subject matter, it is our advice that the suspension of the Chairmen of Chikun and Giwa local governments is ‘’a clear violation of both the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) and the Local Government Law of Kaduna state.’’
Daily Trust reported that the Attorney General’s legal advice which was copied to the Secretary of the State Government, said that the action of the House of Assembly is ‘’unconstitutional, null and void and should be reversed accordingly and with immediate effect.’’
In a letter dated June 14, 2022, with reference number SSG/KDS/276/VOL 1, the Secretary to the State Government wrote to the two chairmen, directing them to return to their offices.
The letter which was signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Malam Balarabe Abbas Lawal, dated June 14, 2022, as reported by Daily Trust, the government said that it subjected the legal advice to scrutiny before giving the directive.
According to the SSG, ‘’a copy of the letter will be communicated to the Clerk of the Assembly for information and guidance.’’
Culled from Daily Trust