7 April 2021 By Victoria Abah
The Supreme Court has declared dissolution of elected Local government Council Chairmen under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state as unlawful.
In a unanimous judgment delivered during a virtual session by Justice Adamu Jauro, the apex court consequently, directed that the dissolved council officials be paid all their entitlements from the date of their illegal dissolution to the date they were to vacate office.
The court in arriving at its decision, set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, and also awarded costs to the Appellants, insisting that it should be complied with, within a time frame.
Governor Masari had on assumption of office in July 2015, dissolved elected Council officials on allegation of financial misappropriation of funds, a decision the apex court declared as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
In a similar Judgement, The Supreme Court, declared the dissolution and sack of elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in Oyo State by Governor Seyi Makinde, as unconstitutional and illegal.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgement by a five-man panel of Justices, held that governor Makinde acted beyond his powers, on his assumption of office on May 29, 2019, stressing that no governor has the constitutional power to illegally terminate the tenure of democratically elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors.
The Supreme Court, in its lead verdict that was read by Justice Ejembi Eko, noted that Governor Makinde took the action despite a subsisting court order, which was a breach of section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Consequently, it vacated the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, which earlier validated governor Makinde’s action and ordered the Oyo State Government to pay each of the sacked Chairmen and Councillors their accrued salaries and allowances.
The Supreme Court further directed the Attorney-General of Oyo State to before August 7, file an affidavit attesting to the payment of such salaries and allowances to the appellants.
It also awarded a cost of N20million in favour of the appellants.
Other Justices that concurred with the lead judgement of the apex court delivered were Justices Kekere Ekun, Inyang Okoro, Ibrahim Saulawa and Adamu Jauro.