Barr. Monday Ubani

A group of Activist lawyers under the auspices of Public Interest Lawyers’ Forum have dragged the Attorney General of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation, Revenue Mobilization, Account and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC and 15 State Attorneys-General before the Federal High Court, Abuja over the legality of Local Government Transition Committees.

The lawyers who filed the suit on behalf of the forum include; former 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Monday Ubani, National Publicity Secretary of NBA, Kunle Edun, former Chairman of the NBA Warri branch, John Aikpokpo-Martins, Anne Agi and Emmanuel Ewere.

Also joined as co-defendants in the suit are Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, the Federal Minister of Finance and the Inspector General of Police.

The plaintiffs are seeking the court’s determination of the constitutionality/validity of the removal of democratically elected Local Government Chairmen and Councilors and their replacement with Local Government Caretaker or Transitional Committees by State Governments.

Part of their reliefs include; A declaration that the provisions of sections 1(1), 7(1) and 15 (5)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, Cap C23, LFN, 2010 guarantee the tenures of democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors of Local Governments in Nigeria and therefore, supersede the provisions of any law or resolution passed by any State House of Assembly regarding the removal and/or suspension of democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors of Local Governments in Nigeria.

“A declaration that the removal and/or suspension from office of the democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors of the Local Governments Areas and/or continued retention of caretaker committees in place of democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors of the Local Governments of Oyo State, Kogi State, Abia
State, Ondo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Benue State, Cross River State, Ogun State, Borno State, Yobe State, Kwara State, Bauchi State, Taraba State and Enugu State by the Governors and the Houses of Assembly of the said States is in violent breach of the extant provisions of sections 1(1), 7(1) and 15 (5)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, Cap C23, LFN, 2010.

” A declaration that the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended does not recognize the purported entities called Local Government Transitional or Caretaker Committees or any other interim Local Government administration system, and such creations are therefore unconstitutional.

” A declaration that the allocation of funds from the Federation Account and receipt of same by the purported Local Government Transitional or Caretaker Committees in Oyo State, Kogi State, Abia State, Ondo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Benue State, Ogun State, Borno State, Yobe State, Kwara State, Bauchi State, Taraba State and Enugu State Cross River State is in violent breach of the extant provisions of sections 1(1), 7(1)and 15 (5)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, Cap C23, LFN, 2010.

” A declaration that the 1st, 17th, 19th, 20th and 21st defendants lack the authority and vires to release or authorize the release of any fund known as “Monthly Allocation” from the Federation Account and/or any other source to Local Government Caretaker or Transitional Committees in Oyo State, Kogi State, Abia State, Ondo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Benue State, Cross River State, Ogun State, Borno State, Yobe State, Kwara State, Bauchi State, Taraba State and Enugu State and any other State in Nigeria in view of the salient provisions of sections 1(1), 7(1) and 15 (5)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, Cap C23, LFN, 2010.

” An order setting aside the purported removal/suspension of the democratically elected Local Government Chairmen and Councilors and/or retention of non democratically elected officials in various LGA in Oyo State, Kogi State, Abia State, Ondo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Benue State, Ogun State, Cross River State Borno State, Yobe State, Kwara State, Bauchi State, Taraba State and Enugu State

“An order directing that all the purportedly removed and/or suspended Chairmen and Councilors of Local Governments in Oyo State, Kogi State, Abia State, Ondo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Benue State, Ogun State, Cross River State, Borno State, Yobe State, Kwara State, Bauchi State, Taraba State and Enugu State immediately return to their offices to complete their unexhausted terms of office if any, and be paid all allowances, salaries and benefits for the full terms of their offices.

“An order directing all State Governors where elections have not taken place before now in the federation which still runs the local government administration transitional or caretaker Committees to conduct elections immediately into their various Local Government Areas in accordance with Section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended Cap C23, LFN, 2010.

” An order directing the Governors of Oyo State, Kogi State, Abia State, Ondo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Benue State, Ogun State, Cross River State, Borno State, Yobe State, Kwara State, Bauchi State, Taraba State and Enugu State to recover/refund back to the States’ Treasury all funds, remunerations and benefits already paid to members of the said Committees.

” An order directing the 17th, 20th and 21st Defendants not to release any monthly allocation subsequently to any local government administration in any of the states of the federation that is not under a democratically elected government in accordance with Section 7 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended Cap C23, LFN, 2010.”

The Originating Summons was settled by Femi Falana SAN, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN,. Desmond Yamah, Esq and Ikhida Ehighelua, Esq.

Defendants in the suit are: Attorneys-Generals of the Federation, Oyo State, Kogi, Abia, Ondo, Anambra, Imo, Benue, Cross River, Ogun, Borno, Yobe, Kwara, Bauchi, Taraba and Enugu States. Others are The Federal Revenue Allocation, Account and Fiscal Commission, Inspector General of Police, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Federal Minister, Minister of Finance, and Accountant General of the Federation.

The Originating process shows that Affidavit of Non-Multiplicity of action required by the new Federal High Court Rules has been filed. It was deposed to by one Martha C. Eze, a counsel in the law firm of Messrs U. M. Yamah & Co. assuring the court that Plaintiffs have not filed suit elsewhere on the same facts.
Neither date nor any judge has been assigned to the new public interest case.

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