The Ilorin Court of Appeal of Nigeria has declared the Transition Implementation Committees (TICs) appointed by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to run the 16 Local Government Areas of Kwara State as illegal and unconstitutional.
Justice K.I. Amadi who delivered the judgment via zoom on Thursday upheld the judgement of the Kwara State High Court earlier delivered by Justice H.A. Gegele in favour of the Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD).
The court described the governor’s replacement of the suspended officials with his own appointees as executive rascality and an abuse of power.
According to Justice Amadi, the suspension of a democratically-elected local government councils and their replacement with “illegal” TIC by the state government is not known to any law.
Reacting to the judgement, ENetSuD in a statement signed by its Press Secretary, Saeed Tijjani hailed the judgment.
The statement read, “Today via the virtual sitting of the Ilorin Division of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, the Appeal filed by the Kwara State Government, the Governor and the Attorney General of kwara state over the illegal appointment of Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) in the 16 Local Government Councils of Kwara State was dismissed by the Court of Appeal. Justice K.I. Amadi who delivered the judgement via zoom, upheld the judgement of the Kwara State High Court earlier delivered by Justice H.A. Gegele in favour of the Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) on 8th of October, 2021.
ENetSuD is an anti-corruption Civil Society Organization with registered office in Kwara State and known to be promoting good governance, transparency and accountability.
“ENetSuD was ably represented by its Director of Legal Services, Lukman Raji Esq, while the Kwara State Government and other Appellants were represented by the Director of Civil Litigation of Kwara State Ministry of Justice, Mr Bello and a chief State Counsel, Mrs Michael at the sitting of court of Appeal of 14th April, 2022.
“The Respondent who was the Claimant at the lower court In the original Suit No KWS/117/2021 at the Kwara State High Court, dragged the Appellants (Kwara State Government, Kwara State Governor and Attorney General of Kwara State) to the State High Court to seek the following reliefs: A declaration that section 29 (1) to (5) of the Kwara State Local Government Law, 2005 is in conflict with section 7(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and thus null, void and of no effect whatsoever to the extent that it empowered Governor of Kwara State to dissolve the democratically-elected Local Government councils and replace them with Transitional Implementation Committees/ Caretaker or whatsoever name called appointed by the Governor or any other body.
“A declaration that by virtue of the combined effect of section 7 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the provisions of section 18 and 28 the Kwara State Local Government Law, 2005 the Governor of Kwara State had no power to dissolve the democratically-elected councils of the sixteen Local Governments of Kwara State.
“A Declaration that 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) does not recognize the purported Transitional Implementation Committee/ Caretaker or any other name whatsoever called in Kwara State and the creation or appointing of such is therefore unconstitutional. A Declaration that the Respondents lack vires to release or use Kwara State resources to fund purported Transitional Implementation Committee/ Caretaker or any other name whatsoever called in view of sections 1(1), 7(1) and 15 (5) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“An Order setting aside the purported appointment of Transitional Implementation Committee by the Kwara State Government of 5th March, 2021 or any other dates whatsoever. An Order directing the 2nd Respondent (Kwara State Governor) to recover/refund back to the State Treasury all funds, remunerations and benefits already paid to members of the said Transitional Implementation Committees.
“An Order directing the 2nd Respondent (Kwara State Governor) to conduct Local Government election in the whole local government area of Kwara state with immediate effect in accordance with section 7 (1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). Hon. Justice H.A. Gegele of the State High Court delivered his judgement on the case on 8th October 2021. He ruled that the KWSG suspended a democratically-elected Local Government Council and then replaced them with an illegal TIC that is not known to any law. He also granted all the prayers 1 – 7 listed above as made to the court by ENetSuD.
“Kwara State Government sought to allow the appeal and set aside the judgement of the lower (High) Court delivered on 8th October 2021 by Justice Hassan A. Gegele. Justice K.I. Amadi (JCA), while delivering his judgement today, dismissed the appeal made by the Kwara State Government and ruled in favour of ENetSuD.”