From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court on Friday declared the dissolution of the dully elected Local government Council Chairmen under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state as unlawful.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, the apex consequently, directed that the unlawfully dissolved council officials be paid all their entitlements from the date of their illegal dissolution to the date they were to vacate office.
The court in arriving at it’s decision, set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal and allowed the appeal marked SC 244/218, filed by Abubakar Ibrahim Yantaba and others V Governor of Katsina state.
Governor Masari had on assumption of office in July 2015, dissolved the state dully elected Council officials on allegation of financial misappropriation of councils funds, a decision which the apex court declared as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
The Supreme Court also awarded costs to the Appellants and insisted that it should be complied with within a time frame.
Before the legal action got to the apex court, the Katsina State chapter of PDP had instituted dragged the state governor, Aminu Bello Masari and the state house of assembly over alleged move to dissolve the 34 local government councils in the state.
Joined in the suit were the Attorney general of the state as second defendant while Masari and the state assembly are the first and third defendants respectively.
In a writ of summons with reference number: KTH/38/2015, dated July 1, 2015, the PDP sought the court to restrain the defendants from dissolving the council chairmen.
The PDP also sought a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from “suspending or in any other way removing all or any of the 34 local government councils in Katsina State before the expiration of their tenure.
The party is also asked for a declaration that upon declaration of relevant laws including the amended Katsina State local government law, the tenure of the 34 local government councils in the state is two years.
It alleged that Masari has no legal right to dissolve, suspend or remove any of the 34 local governments before expiration of their tenure.
The PDP insisted that its move was informed by an announcement by the governor, indicating the intention of his administration to dissolve the local government councils.
In a similar judgment, the Supreme Court has declared dissolution of local governments in Oyo State as illegal.
The apex court which condemned their replacement with caretaker committees set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, which approved the sack of elected council chairpersons by Governor Seyi Making.
The sacked chairpersons, led by Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, had approached the court to vindicate them saying they were illegally sacked.
Mr Makinde had shortly after his inauguration as governor in 2019, sacked the officials.
He ordered the council bosses who were elected in 2018 to hand over the property of their councils to the most senior staffer in their respective local government areas.
The officials, drawn from the 33 local government areas (LGAs) and 35 local council development areas (LCDAs) and their councillors, were members of the APC who were elected during the tenure of the immediate past governor, late Abiola Ajimobi.
The officials after their sack approached an Oyo State High Court in Ibadan. They argued that they were illegally removed by Mr Makinde.
The case later moved to the court of appeal.
However, the appeal court in its ruling on Wednesday ruled in favour of the governor, elected under the PDP.
Justice Haruna Tsamani read the judgment in the presence of the two other judges who were members of the three-member panel of the court of appeal.