The House of Representatives on Thursday received and adopted a motion which kicked against the illegal constitution of caretaker committees by state governors in local government areas in the country.
About 25 states in the country do not have elected officials in the local government administration.
The motion noted that this system of government as practiced by many state governments was not provided for in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic as amended.
Friday Itulah, who sponsored the motion, pointed out the implication of the practice by 25 state governments if not checked.
“The practice by those states if not checked could bring the country into a lawless state”.
Though the motion was adopted, members expressed contrary views on the theme of illegality in the constitution of caretaker committees for local government councils.
A member from Akwa Ibom state, Emmanuel Okete spoke against the motion.
“I want to speak in total condemnation of the motion. Believing that this motion will not lead this honourable House anywhere except a collision with the very provision of the constitution we are wanting to protect”.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) had during his screening as a ministerial nominee by the Senate denounced the system of appointing caretaker committees for local government councils as being against the tenets and letters of the 1999 Constitution.
The Minister had chided some governors of violating Section 7 of the Nigerian Constitution by dissolving elected officials and appointing caretaker committees to run the affairs of local government council areas, he had said: “There is no gainsaying that section 7 of our constitution wants a situation where our local government area councils are manned by democratically-elected personnel. Let me also state clearly that the appointment of caretaker committees is illegal and unknown to law, but regrettably, nobody has challenged this constitutional lapses.
“We will wait and if I am reappointed as Attorney-General, we will look at it and try to redress the situation. Section 7 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended states that: “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall subject to Section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.”
The constitution further places the power to provide the legal framework for the administration of local councils on states; however, it never conferred on the state such powers as substituting “democratically elected” leaders at that tier of government with “appointed” ones.
Mr Adoke described the development as illegal and assured that if he was re-appointed Justice Minister, he would litigate such acts.
Meanwhile, a State High Court in Ekpoma on Thursday declared illegal and unconstitutional the Caretaker Committee Councils constituted by the Edo State Government.
The Court presided over by the Justice Akomolafe Wilson in a suit filed by Tony Okonigene versus Edo State Government and Attorney General of Edo State pronounced dissolved the local Councils and ordered the State Governor to conduct local Government election immediately.
Edo Government sources however said the State Government will appeal the decision of the Court.