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Supreme Court voids council dissolution in Katsina, Oyo

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The Supreme Court, in two judgments on Friday, set side the decision by Governors Aminu Masari (Katsina State) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo State) to dissolve elected Local Governments Councils in their states.

A five-man panel of the apex court was unanimous in holding that no Governor has the power to sack democratically elected LG chairmen and councillors.

It held that Masari and Makinde, by sacking democratically elected Local Government Councils, acted in breach of section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

The two judgments were on the appeals filed by sacked LG Chairman and Councillors from Katsina and Oyo states.

The LG Chairman and Councillors from the 34 LGs in Katsina, led by Abubakar Ibrahim Yantaba, were elected under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but were sacked in 2015 by Masari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Those from the 33 Local Government Areas, LGAs as well as 35 Local Council Development Areas in Oyo, led by Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, were elected under the banner of the APC, were sacked in 2019 by Makinde of the PDP.

Justice Adamu Jauro read the lead judgment in the appeal relating to Katsina, held that Masari acted illegally and unconstitutional by sacking the appellants on allegation of financial misappropriation of councils’ funds.

Justice Jauro ordered the Katsina State Government to pay the appellants all their entitlements from the date of their illegal dissolution to the date they were supposed to lawfully vacate office.

In the Oyo case, Justice Ejembi Eko, in the lead judgment, held that Makinde acted “invidiously and in contemptuous disregard of a High Court judgement,” when he dissolved the democratically elected Chairmen and Councillors, and appointed Caretaker Committees to replace them.

Justice Eko set aside an earlier judgment by the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, which validated Makinde’s action, noting that the lower court was wrong when it held that there was no reasonable cause of action in the suit the appellants filed to prevent their sack.

He noted the three-year tenure of the sacked Chairmen and Councillors had since expired but proceeded to hold that they deserved to be compensated for their tenure that was “illegally truncated” on May 29, 2019.

Justice Eko ordered the Oyo State Government to pay the sacked Chairmen and Councillors their accrued salaries and allowances and directed the Attorney-General of Oyo State to, before August 7 this year, file an affidavit confirming the payment of the salaries and allowances to the appellants.

He equally awarded a cost of N20million in favour of the appellants.
Other members of the panel, Justices Kekere Ekun, Inyang Okoro, Ibrahim Saulawa and Adamu Jauro, agreed with the lead judgment.
It should be noted that this is not the first time the Supreme Court was declaring unlawful the practice by state governors to dissolve elected LGs upon assuming office.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had pointed out this fact when he faulted Makinde’s decision, in a latter dated January 14, 2020.
In the letter marked: HAGF/OYO/2020/Vol.1/1, which was addrssed to Oyo State’s Attorney General, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, Malami drew Makinde’s attention to past decisions of the Supreme Court on the issue and advised him to reverse the dissolution.

But, rather than heed the AGF’s advice,
Makinde queried Malami’s jurisdictional competence, claiming among others, that the issue was internal to Oyo State.

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Tinubu returns to Nigeria

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The National leader of the All progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has returned to Nigeria after a brief vacation abroad.
Contrary to widespread reports that the former Lagos governor is ‘ill’ and being secretly treated abroad, Tinubu popularly known as ‘Jagaban’ looked hale, hearty and full of life as he returned to the country on Tuesday.
On landing at the airport, he was welcomed amidst celebration from his supporters

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Synagogue confirms TB Joshua burial programme

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The Synagogue Church of All Nations has confirmed the burial programme of its late General Overseer, Prophet TB Joshua.

The PUNCH had reported on Monday that the late cleric would be buried on July 9, 2021, on the premises of his church in Lagos State.

The church statement on Monday read partly, “We know you are aware that our father in the Lord, Prophet TB Joshua, has been taken home to be with the Lord. We want to assure you that nothing will stop the work of God at SCOAN from moving on. Prophet TB Joshua may be absent in the body but he is present in the spirit.

“We are currently preparing for a week-long service from Monday 5th to Sunday 11th July 2021 in honour of Prophet TB Joshua’s life and legacy.

“He will be laid to rest at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria.

“All services will be broadcast live on Emmanuel TV. The services which will be open to the public will be communicated to you at the appropriate time.”

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Soyinka: Nigeria on the edge, Buhari must take urgent action

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  • Faults President on locating grazing routes

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is on the “edge”, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to move beyond mere talk, and take urgent action to set the country on the right path.
He said the President should stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.
Last week, Buhari spoke, in two recorded interviews and a national broadcast, on challenges facing the country, stating that his administration was committed to ensuring growth and improved security.
Soyinka on Arise Television programme on Monday said the problems of the country could be addressed with the right actions by the leaders.
He said, “First of all, he should start talking to people like a leader — and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation. Then, let us see actions being taken.
“I’m tired of hearing things like ‘you will see differences in a few weeks’ time’. We are tired of that. He’s got to put his cards on the table and take people into confidence.
“He’s got to stop exuding a false confidence, because that kind of confidence is totally false. It is not based on realities, and we’ve got to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer a problem of the people,; it is a problem of leadership, because the people have shown themselves ready to act, to save their own community.”
Soyinka also said the national assembly and the 36 state governors were not doing enough, considering their constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “Members of NASS are not doing enough. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise that they have certain powers which they haven’t touched
“There are certain areas they can compel this government to act the way it should, and that applies especially to governors — the governors themselves are too timid.”
He warned Nigerians to stop spreading fake news, stressing that it is a way of distorting constructive narratives that could help the people.
Soyinka said, “I appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by stealing my identity and putting words in my mouth on social media, you are wasting your time. Not only that, you are acting in a distorting way.
“At this sensitive time, I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with such serious issues, otherwise they are going to lose the kind of support they have from people like me.”

Soyinka also faulted Buhari on his plan to locate old grazing routes across the country, saying hs comments were “disturbing” and indicated that his administration has not gone beyond narrow-mindedness.
He said: “There is at least 50 per cent of a nation, at least their representatives, saying that within the constitution, within this democratic dispensation, we’re saying on behalf of our people: ‘we do not want open grazing anymore.’
“And then, somebody sits in Aso Rock and says to them: ‘I’m instructing my Attorney-General to dig up some kind of colonial law, which arbitrated between farmers and herders, so I’m instructing him to dig up that old, mangy documents so that I can recover, on behalf of a certain private business, the old routes; which means that he’s not listening to what the people are saying and what the governors who represented them are saying.
“He’s saying: ‘I’m going to restore those routes’ by referring to some colonial arrangement. When I listen to a thing like that, I really despair.
“It was a very instructive interview, not that there was anything new in it, but I was just hoping that this government had transcended that kind of partisan thinking. It was very instructive.
“That was a leader, who incidentally, I must congratulate him on one thing: he seemed to have recovered his verve – he was energetic, he was articulate; he seemed to think about what he was saying. It was a different kind of Buhari but also a rather disturbing kind of Buhari.
“This was the language of a leader who felt he was on a roll, while the nation is on a roller-coaster, and that’s even putting it mildly because the nation is on a nose-dive.”

 

 

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