by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The suspended 17 Local Government Chairmen of Plateau State have appealed to the State Governor not to throw caution to the dust, that as a matter of moral expediency and in line with the spirit and principles of democracy the governor should rescind his decision on the illegal appointment of Transition Committee Chairmen.
The chairmen also appealed to the Inspector-General of Police to take immediate action to unseal the 17 Local Government Council Secretariats and allow constitutionally and democratically-elected officials resume their work, as upholding the rule of law and protecting the democratic process is a responsibility that falls upon the Police Force.
Speaking on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chairmen, ALGON Chairman, Hon. Miskoom Alexander Naatuam, made the appeal on Wednesday, while briefing journalists in Jos at the NUJ Press Center.
According to him, on the 31st July, 2023, the Plateau State Government took desperation to a disturbing, ridiculous and dizzying height when it approached and obtained an Interim Order from an Area Court sitting in Bukuru, setting aside a purported directive of the Commissioner of Police sealing-off the Secretariat of the 17 Local Governments and further directing the unsealing of same.
He said, “The question we make haste to ask is, whether the governor, who has no regard for court orders, can benefit from any court order.
Miskoom Alexander Naatuam further noted that, “The governor approached the fountains of justice with soiled hands. It was the governor’s disobedience of the order of a court of record and superior jurisdiction that resulted in the sealing-off the Local Government Secretariat.
“We are further forced to ask: who does the governor wants the secretariat unsealed for – the illegal caretaker chairmen and their members?” he stated.
“It is manifestly clear even to the unlearned that the Order obtained at the Area Court directing the Commissioner of Police to unseal the said Secretariat was obtained by fraud and misrepresentation,” he noted.
Miskoom Naatuam lamented that, “In the first place, it was the Inspector-General of Police – and not the Commissioner of Police – that directed the sealing-off of the Secretariat, and we also believe that it amounts to forum shopping to file a suit in an Area Court, while the same subject-matter is pending before a Superior Court of Record.
“We expect the police to take the necessary steps to set aside this order. Democratically-elected Local Government Councils do not exist at the pleasure, whims and caprice of either the governor.”
According to him, “The Local Government is not a mere parastatal of the State. Section 7(1) of the Constitution guarantees the autonomy of Local Government Councils under the constitution,” he stated.