ACN Slams House Of Reps Over Resolution On LGs


The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described the House of Representatives as lawless, petty and
vindictive following its resolution asking the federal government to stop allocation to states in which local governments have been dissolved.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party asked the Accountant-General of the Federation to disregard the meaningless resolution, in view of the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Lagos case that no one, not the President or the National Assembly, has the powers to withhold local government allocation for whatever reason.

”The resolution passed by the House of Representatives is therefore unconstitutional, illegal and ultra
vires, and should be ignored by the executive. The Senate should also be careful not to lend its backing to such an irresponsible and arrogant show of power by the House of Representatives.

”The resolution, which is very typical of the PDP and the institutions it dominates, makes a mockery of the Supreme Court, whose decisions override any law, and undermines the judiciary,” it said.

ACN wonders if the resolution by the PDP-dominated House is the ruling party’s reaction to the recent judicial victory of the ACN in the Ekiti gubernatorial election case, since the resolution seems to target the recent dissolution of the local councils in Ekiti in particular.

”It is sad for the PDP that instead of using its majority in the National Assembly to advance the course of democracy and enhance the welfare of Nigerians, all the party can do – through its clueless members in the House of Representatives – is to dabble into an issue that portrays the party as a bad loser.

”If the House of Representatives does not know, there are more important issues begging for its attention that the dissolution of local councils. There is the worsening insecurity and kidnapping in
parts of Nigeria, and there is the illegal and unconstitutional action of renegade lawmakers in Ogun state,” the party said.

ACN explained that Gov. Kayode Fayemi followed the law in dissolving the local councils in Ekiti, and that there was no court order restraining him from doing so at the time he did.

”The case filed by the council chairmen in Ekiti, seeking to restrain the governor from exercising his powers to dissolve the councils, has been struck out after they withdrew the case.

”In any case, Section 23 b of the Ekiti Local Government administration (Amendment Law) of 2001, passed by the Ekiti State House of Assembly long before Fayemi became Governor, empowers the Governor to dissolve the councils, provided such dissolution will not exceed a period of 12 months. The law also gives the Governor the powers to appoint a seven-member caretaker committee in each council until elections are held.

”The Governor was in the process of tabling the dissolution before the State House of Assembly, as stipulated by the law, when this meaningless resolution was passed. We are therefore left with no choice to ask all concerned to ignore the resolution, which is meant for trash can,”
the party said.

Four years after former Governor of Kogi state, Prince Audu Abubakar was dragged before a Kogi state High Court by the Economic ans Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,
on an 80 counts charge involving a princely sum of 5.06 billion Naira which the former governor allegedly stole from the treasury of the state through money laundering
and forgery practices, the case has continued to suffer serious set backs as the former governor had adopted legal tactics to frustrate his trial.
Following threats on the lives of the prosecuton counsels and prosecution witnesses in Lokoja where the former governor is standing trial, the anti graft commission
moved to have the trial discontinued in Kogi state with a view to having the trial commenced before another court of competent jurisdiction. This resulted in the entering
of nuolle prosequi; that is, intention to discontinue with the matter,by the Kogi state Attorney General who had earlier granted a fiat to the Attorney General of the Federation
which enabled the AGF to prosecute Prince Audu on both the EFCC Act and the penal code.
The former governor opposed this attempt to have his trial hold in another judicial division and opposed the application by the Kogi state Attorney General to discontinue his trial in Kogi state.He sought for, and received an experte order from the Kogi state High court transfering the matter to Court of Appeal Abuja Division, for the resolution of the issue whether the Kogi AG can interfer and withdraw a case in which he had already granted fiat to the AGF to handle.
At the Court of Appeal, the former governor rejected an order of the court for parties to file written addresses for speedy resolution of the matter and went to the Supreme Court to challenge that harmless order. The apex court in resolution of the matter ordered Prince Audu to go back to the Court of Appeal as the apex court cannot dictate to the Court of Appeal on how to conduct its affairs.
The matter resumed this morning at the appellate court where the former governor complied with the earlier directives of the court in filing and adopting his brief of arguement in support of his opposition to the discontinuance of his trial in Lokoja where his influence is quite significant. His lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Haruna submitted that the Kogi state Attorney General cannot cannot interfer in his client’s trial before the Kogi state High Court as the case is not being prosecuted by him neither had he inherited the case from the Attorney General Federation to whom he (the Kogi AG) had earlier granted a fiat to handle the case.
In justifying the need to transfer Audu’s trial to a neutral ground, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs stated that the charges against the former governor and the amount involved are such that a neutral ground is required in the face of threats which the prosecution witnesses and counsels had received from the supporters of the former governor.

Ruling on whether the Kogi state Attorner General can interfer and enter a nuolle prosequi in Audu’s trial before Kogi state High Court was reserved by the 3 man panel of the court led by Justice Mohammed Lawan Garba to a date to be announced later.

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