Suspension of LG Chairs: Group says Wike breaching constitution


…He breached the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria
A group of civil society activists in Rivers State, the Civil Rights Council, CRC,  has described the suspension of Daniel E. O. Daniel, the Chairman of Abua-Odual Local Government by Governor Nyesom Wike on Tuesday as illegal.
The Governor had suspended the local government chairman over alleged lack of commitment to the fight against Coronavirus.
In a statement signed by the council’s Legal Adviser, Mercy Christopher, Prince Wiro, Chairman, CRC, Rivers State and Arochukwu Paul Ogbonna, National Coordinator said the Governor has no legal powers to suspend an elected local council chairman and has acted contrary to the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rule of law.
”Governor Wike recently suspended Daniel E. O. Daniel, the local council chairman of Abua/Odual for not exhibiting the required commitment in fighting COVID19 in his local government council. The suspension is to last for one month.
”This is the second suspension of a local government chairman by Gov. Wike due to the COVID19 pandemic, the first being the suspension of Solomon Abel Eke, the local government chairman of Obio-Akpor local government Council.
”The governor is acting outside his executive prerogative and in breach of the Law. Whatever the rationale of the Governor, he is either unaware of the position of the law or adamantly taking laws into his hands.
The right groups noted that the  Supreme Court of Nigeria had held in Govenor of Ekiti State and ORS v. Prince Sanmi Olubunmo & 13 ORS that the governor of a state cannot interfere with the running of a local government council.
According to them, the Supreme Court had explained that by the provision of Section 7 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is guaranteed. Hence, the court noted that any action of a governor which has the capacity of undermining the same Constitution is equal to executive recklessness which would not be condoned.
CRC therefore said the suspension of the local council chairman by Gov Wike was a blatant disregard of the rule of law which should be condemned it in all  entirety.
The Council therefore called on the governor to reinstate the suspended local government chairmen as he does not have such powers to suspend them, as  suspension is ab initio null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
They also demanded that the government of Rivers State respect the law and not incite anarchy in the state.
”The Constitution has not been suspended and should not be disregarded especially during such instability. There is a grave need for both the governor and the governed to obey the law and observe the tenets of the fundamental human rights now more than ever. We thus enjoin everyone to stay safe, law abiding and vigilant.”