Suspended Ogun Local Govts’ Chairmen Threaten Legal Action
The 20 suspended local government chairmen and heads of 37 local council development areas (LCDA) in Ogun State on Thursday asked Governor Dapo Abiodun to reinstate them back to their positions.
They threatened to commence legal action against the government and House of Assembly over their alleged suspension, if not reinstated.
They made the demand at a news conference addressed at the Ikeja chamber of their counsel, Monday Ubani.
The House of Assembly had on May 3 passed a resolution suspending political functionaries at the LGs and LCDAs.
Following the resolution of the assembly, the state government froze all LGs’ and LCDAs’ bank accounts.
But, the local government chairmen described their suspension as “illegal, unconstitutional and void”, having been duly elected by the people of the state for a four years term, which expires in October.
Ubani stated that they took the decision to approach the court having unsuccessfully explore several avenues to make the Ogun State government and House Assembly to reverse their suspension.
The lawyer also alleged that since the suspension of the council chairmen, the state government and its cronies have been meddling with the bank accounts of the local governments.
He urged the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to investigate the matter.
The lawyer said since assuming office nearly four years ago, majority of the council chairmen have not been paid for over 33 months and have only received N500,000 as security vote from the state government.
Ubani said: “The decision to freeze the LG/LCDA bank accounts and their suspension before the expiration of their tenure, based on purported petitions which they were not given an opportunity to respond to is a gross violation of their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to fair hearing, and hence cannot stand.
“Even if fair hearing was given to them before the decision to suspend them was reached, no law gives power to either the state governor or state House of Assembly to suspend, terminate or abridge the tenure of the duly elected council executives, having been duly elected by their constituents and certificated by Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission.
“Any such act amount to reckless abuse of Executive/Legislative power, which must be checked in order to protect our nascent democracy.
“On behalf of our clients, we demand their immediate reinstatement and payment of all their entitlements for the past 33 months, which they have been denied, as stated above be computed and paid to them with effect from October 10, 2016, when they were duly sworn into office as LG and LCDA chairmen till October 10, 2019 when they are expected to leave office.
“We also demand N500,000,000.00 as damages for the infringement on their fundamental right as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the hardship they have suffered as a result of willful deprivation of their entitlements as council executives.”
Also speaking on behalf of the suspended council chairmen, Adebayo Osikomaiya, representing Ijebu East Central LCDA, denied reports that they were suspended due to alleged embezzlement.
He noted that before the suspension was announced, the 8th House of Assembly oversight committee had clear them of all allegations of financial misappropriation.
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