By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has requested Oyo state government to reinstate the sacked local government chairmen.
In a letter with reference number HAGF/OYO/2020/Vol.I/I, addressed to the Oyo state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Professor Oyewo Oyewo, FG said Governor Seyi Makinde should abide by the ‘decision of the Supreme Court on the dissolution of local government administration in the state in the overall interest of the rule of law and democracy’.
The Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice also emphasized the need to immediately disband all caretaker committees and restore democratically elected representatives to the local governments has, therefore, become obligatory.
Dated 14 January 2020, Malami in the letter entitled “Unconstitutionality of dissolution of elected government councils and appointment of caretaker committees: the urgent need for compliance with extant judicial decisions “, noted with dismay the continued nonadherence by some Governors and Houses of Assembly to the provisions of Section 7 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended as it relates to the existence, administration and control of local government councils in Nigeria.
He said this unpleasant development was hindering the much-needed grassroots development expected to be put in place by the third tier of government in the country.
The AGF, in the letter, copies which were sent to the Inspector General of Police, the Director-General, State Security Service, the Acting Chairman, EFCC, and the Director, NFIU , asked for immediate disbandment of caretaker arrangement in any state of the federation , in full compliance with Court of Appeal judgments in six states, and the Supreme Court judgment in a case involving Ekiti state governor and others versus Prince Sanmi Olubunmo and 13 others .
The AGF said in view of the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter that is binding on all 36 States of the Federation,“ the common practice by some State Governors in dissolving elected local government councils is unconstitutional, null and void. So also any system of local government run by Caretaker Committee are outright illegal and unconstitutional”.
Part of the letter reads: “To this end, I hereby request all their Excellencies, State Governors and Speakers of State House of Assembly, who are currently acting in breach of the provisions of Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and also acting in disobedience of the Supreme Court judgement highlighted above to immediately retrace their step by ensuring compliance with the above in the overall interest of the rule of law and our democracy. The need to immediately disband all caretaker committee and restore democratically elected representatives to man the local governments has therefore become obligatory.”
Malami, also requested the Justice Commissioner to take positive steps to ensure compliance adding that, “ Mr President and other relevant agencies will be advised further on compliance measures that should be taken in national interest.”