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Plateau State Attorney-General faults CP’s move to unseal LGC Chairmen’s Offices

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for Plateau State, Mr Philemon Daffi, has faulted the move by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Okoro Julius Alawari, to unseal all the offices of the Local Government Council Chairmen and that of the Councillors to enable all the elected Chairmen and Councilors to go into their various offices without hindrance, pending the outcome of their case in court.

The Commissioner for Justice made this known on Sunday, while briefing newsmen shortly after an Emergency Security Council Meeting in Jos, which was presided by the Deputy Governor of the state, Hon. Mrs Josephine Piyo.

A Press Statement by the Police Command in the State, signed and issued to newsmen in Jos by DSP Alfred Alabo, Police Public Relation Officer, noted that, “As part of efforts to ensure the effective running of the 17 Local Government Secretariats in the State, the Police High Command has critically reviewed the matter and has directed the Plateau State Commissioner Police to unseal all the offices of the Local Government Council Chairmen and that of the Councillors to enable all the elected Council Chairmen and Councillors go into their various offices and administrate without any hindrance, pending the outcome of their case in court.”

The statement further indicated thus: “Consequently, the Commissioner of Police has directed all Area Commanders and their Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) under his Command to immediately unseal the offices of the 17 Local Government Chairmen across the State and allow the democratically-elected Chairmen have access to their offices and resume work on Monday, 28th August, 2023.”

Conscience Triumph recalls that, the governor, Caleb Mutfwang, had on June 1 suspended all democratic structures in the 17 local government areas of the state, following what he referred to as “none compliance with the directive of the House of Assembly over the allegation of Financial Mismanagement by the suspended Chairmen.”

In line with this allegation, the governor appointed Transition Committee Chairmen to oversee the activities of the Local Government Councils before the investigation is being concluded.

Their suspension followed the recommendation of the State House of Assembly over allegation of the said “financial mismanagement” by the suspended chairmen.

In reaction to the directive, the Attorney-General stated that the new directive issued by the (Police) Command on Aug. 26, asking the suspended council chairmen to resume official duties was faulty.

While maintaining that the directive has the tendency of throwing the state into serious tension, if not properly handled, the Attorney-General stressed that, “The directive has generated a deep-seated animosity; it is heating the polity and also creating serious tension across the state.”

Our Correspondent reports that, the suspended chairmen have sued the State Government seeking for restorative order after the interim transition chairmen were inaugurated. However, the application for restorative injunction has not yet been heard; it is a matter that is still pending in court.

According to the Attorney-General, the State Government had also gone to court regarding a directive by the immediate past Commissioner of Police in the State, Bartholomew Onyeka, who directed the sealing-off of the Local Government Secretariats.

“We went to the Bukuru Upper Area Court and prayed the court for an order to open-up the Local Government Secretariats. The court heard our prayers and granted the order,” he stated.

According to him, “The order was served to all security agencies and other relevant organizations, but we received with deep shock another directive asking the suspended chairmen to resume office.”

The Commissioner noted that the emergency security meeting was organized to consult with all security agencies in the state towards ensuring law and order, adding that, the Council also deliberated on ways to manage plans by some groups in the state to react to the new directive by the police.

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