Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has declared that Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country can exercise the functions accorded them under the 1999 Constitution; without National Assembly enactment.
Justice Charles Agbaza said the fact that the National Assembly was yet to enact a law to spell out the functions of the area councils, as provided under section 7 (5) of the constitution, does not divest them of their functions.
The pronouncement followed a suit by Abuja-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ogwu James Onoja, challenging the move by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, (AMAC), to replace the road named after him by the AMAC with Amma Pepple Crescent.
“The constitution hasalready recognised and, indeed, accorded those functions, as functions of the local government areas or Area Council.
“The law to be enacted is mainly to comply with the provisions of the constitution, as the Constitution has, already, under the Fourth Schedule, assigned or accorded local governments or area councils the function, which include naming of streets and roads. See Section 1(g) of the Fourth Schedule of the constitution,” the judge said.
While restaining all FCDA and all its agencies from further tampering with the street named after Onoja, the judge also awarded the sum of N2 million as general damages against AMAC.
Onoja had sought the court’s determination of whether the FCDA and AMMC or any other department of the federal capital has the powers to demolish, dismantle or destroy street posts and signs mounted by AMAC; in view of the provisions of sections 7, 303, 328, First Schedule, Part II and Paragraph (g) of the Fourth Schedule to the 1999 constitution, as amended.