Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Mallam, has been asked to put an end to the flagrant disregard for Supreme Court judgements and orders by politicians in the country especially as it concerns the administration of the local government system.
The sacked elected local government officials in Imo State made the call in an interview with journalists in Owerri, the State capital.
Chairman of Isiala Mbano LGA, Jude Mbachu, who spoke on behalf of the sacked officials, lamented that because of Malami’s perceived silence over the brazen sack of local government elected officials by some governors, the act had continued unabated in many states, especially in Imo.
Mbachu noted that the Office of the AGF has the exclusive responsibility to uphold the public interest above the personal interest of anybody.
He said, “Already, there has been a judgement of the Supreme Court on the sack of council officials in Ekiti State. So, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has an opportunity to go to the Supreme Court to put effect to Section 271 of the Constitution and right the wrong in our local government system. That means whether the judgement of the Supreme Court does not have an effect in any other state than the one that took it there first. Such will help to stop this act of impunity by governors.
“If the Supreme Court gave judgement that the governor has no right to sack elected chairmen and councilors in Ekiti State, that judgement should be binding on every state of the federation. But, Malami kept quiet and this disregard to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria continues”.
Mbachu advised the AGF to go to the Supreme Court against the 36 state governors and and ask for interpretation of the Supreme Court on the matter to ensure no state governor tampers with any elected local government officials.
This, he said, would save time spent on litigations at the courts and enable the elected officials utilize the mandate given to them for the interest of the masses.
“That way, the matter will be treated faster before the amendment of the Constitution rather than asking any elected local government official sacked or suspended by any governor to begin afresh to go to the High Court where the matter will spend up to 18 months, and 12 months at Appeal Court and finally up to the Supreme Court where the matter will spend another six to nine months.
“We’re talking about how Nigeria can be fixed and you have a court judgement that asked the FAAC to stop releasing Imo council allocation unless to the elected chairmen. The minister of justice should have made efforts to protect the judgement of the courts of the land.
“That failure of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation is what has led to most elected local government officials being brazenly sacked by governors. And to say that the 90 percent of the elected council officials in Imo, for instance, is made up of the youths is heart-rending.”
He insisted that with the current setup, democracy would continue to elude the local government areas if the AGF does not act to save the third-tier government.