The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke on Tuesday asked the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha to allow the sacked local government Chairmen in the state to resume office as ruled by the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal in Owerri earlier this month reinstated the ousted elected chairmen and councillors of the 27 Local Government Areas in the state. In a unanimous judgement, the court declared that going by Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution and Section 23(1) of the Local Government Law 2000 (as amended), the governor has no competence or power either by his person or through any person acting on his behalf to dissolve democratically-elected chairmen of the 27 local government areas of the state.
In statement issued from his office, the Minister of Justice said “the attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the lingering controversy that has trailed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Judicial Division in Appeal No. CA/OW/215/2011, Barr Enyinna Onuegbu & 26 Ors v. Attorney General of Imo State & 3 Ors dated 5th July 2012 which declared as illegal and unconstitutional the action of the Governor of Imo State, purporting to dissolve the democratically elected Local Government Councils in the State before the expiration of their constitutionally guaranteed tenure.”
Mr Adoke explained “that section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, guarantees the existence of a system of democratically elected Local Government Councils throughout the federation. The judgment of the Court of Appeal aforementioned has only confirmed this position.
“I therefore call on all concerned to respect the judgment of the Court of Appeal and give due regard to the provisions of the Constitution which all elected officials of government have sworn to uphold. This will not only inspire confidence in the polity but will also deepen our fledgling democracy.
“In the light of the foregoing and in consonance with this administration’s avowed commitment to the enthronement of the rule of law in the federation, I hereby call on Imo state Government and all relevant agencies of government to abide by the judgment of the Court of Appeal and ensure that the judgment of the Court of Appeal is given its full effect.