The High Court sitting in Keffi, Nasarawa State, has nullified the appointment of Interim Management Committees (IMCs) in 11 local government councils of the state and ordered Governor Tanko Al-Makura to conduct elections of chairmen and councilors within 140 days.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice S. A. Ayiwulu, nullified the 2016 amendment of the Nasarawa State Local Government Law 2009, as amended in 2011 by the state House of Assembly, which paved way for the state government to alter the substantive suit by reappointing the IMCs to run the affairs of LGAs in the state.
According to the judge, “The law was made during the pendency of the substantive suit and is contrary to the interim order of this court.”
It will be recalled that the former gubernatorial candidate of the Independent Democrats (ID), Barr. Haruna Iliyasu, in April 2015, filed a suit against the state government, the state House of Assembly as well as the 11 IMC chairmen, challenging the “hurried amendment” of the LGA law and the legality of their composition.
Justice Ayiwulu said, “It is hereby ordered that the Nasarawa State Local Government Amended Law 2016 made by the state assembly is accordingly struck down for being contrary to the provision of Section (7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, and for being made contrary to the interim order of this court.
“All members of the interim management committee appointed by the state government and the house of assembly during the pendency of the substantive suit No NSD/K23/2016 are hereby perpetually restrained from parading themselves as such or in whatever name or guise.
“An order is hereby made mandating the state government to conduct election into the local governments in Nasarawa State within 140 days from the date of this judgment,” he said.
This development has stirred panic with the circles of Benue State Government as the same arrangement subsists in the state.
The state Governor, Samuel Ortom appointed sole administrators for the 23 Local Government Council today after failing to conduct elections due to lack of funds.
However, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has rejected the appointments saying it is illegal and have proceeded to challenge it in court.
Speaking recently in an interview with newsmen, the Benue state PDP chairman, Mr John Ngbede expressed displeasure over the appointments saying his party was preparing for local government elections before the setback.
“We were not happy that the local government election which we were preparing for was suspended. We kicked against it but as government in power, they had their way.
“As a party, we are also against the appointment of the sole administrators and we are going to challenge that action in court.” He said.