Kaduna State Government has directed the suspended chairmen of Chikun and Giwa local governments to go back to their offices with immediate effect.
It stated that state laws and the Constitution guarantee democratic local government administration.
The directive followed a legal advice from the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Aisha Dikko, which was prompted by a letter sent by the suspended local government chairmen.
It will be recalled that Kaduna State House of Assembly suspended chairmen of the two local government chairmen on June 1, 2022, following a motion by the member representing Zaria/Kewaye constituency, Hon. Ahmed Mohammed (Chokali), for alleged misappropriation of funds.
Mohammed had moved that Hon. Salasi Nuhu Musa and Hon. Abubakar Lawal, chairmen of Chikun and Giwa local governments respectively, should hand over to their deputies to allow for investigation.
He urged the House to conduct the investigation in line with Section 128 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On their part, the embattled chairmen considered their suspension as unconstitutional.
Consequently, the suspended chairmen approached the Kaduna State Government through the Attorney-General, requesting a legal opinion on the legality or otherwise of their suspension.
In her legal opinion, the Attorney General wrote that: “We have carefully analysed the clear provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees a system of local government by democratically elected Local Government Councils.
“In the same vein, Section 8 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enshrines that every state of the federation shall ensure the existence of Local Government Councils through enactment of laws that specify the structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.
“In Kaduna State, the Local Government Law No 3 of 2018 which was duly passed by the House of Assembly, is the legislation governing Local Government Administration.
“Local Government Councils are an independent organ of government and also have their duly elected legislative councils.
“The procedures for the removal of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of a Local Government Council in the state have been clearly spelt out by the Kaduna State Local Government Law 2018.”
Dikko argued that based on the foregoing and plethora of authorities from the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the subject matter, “it is our advice that the suspension of the Chairmen of Chikun and Giwa local governments is a clear violation of both the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) and the Local Government Law of Kaduna State.”
The Attorney General’s legal advice which was copied to the Secretary to the State Government, described the Assembly’s action as “unconstitutional, null and void and should be reversed accordingly and with immediate effect.”
In a letter dated June 14, 2022, with reference number SSG/KDS/276/VOL 1, the Secretary to the State Government wrote to the two chairmen, directing them to return to their offices.
The letter which was signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Malam Balarabe Abbas Lawal, dated June 14, 2022, said that it subjected the legal advice to scrutiny before giving the directive.
According to the SSG, “A copy of the letter will be communicated to the Clerk of the Assembly for information and guidance.”