BEING THE JOINT PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE KWARA STATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS' VICE CHAIRMEN AND* *COUNCILORS OVER THE ILLEGAL SUSPENSION OF THE ELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT* *COUNCILS IN KWARA STATE FOR 6 MONTHS WHICH HAS ENDED (18TH JUNE -17TH DECEMBER,
All protocol duly and respectfully observed.
It would be recalled that both the *Executive* and *Legislative* *Councils* of the 16 LGAs in *Kwara State* were suspended on the 18th June, 2019 based on the recommendation of the *State Assembly* arising from a frivolous petition written by one Saidu Aliyu from Ilorin West LGA which alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to #33billion FAAC and over #10billion IGR accruing to the councils.
To our dismay, the petition was deliberated upon by the *State House Of Assembly* on Tuesday 18th June, 2019, resolution was passed on the same day and His Excellency , *Mallam Abdulrahaman Abdulrasaq* , the *Executive Governor Of Kwara State* graciously approved the House recommendation the same day. The speed at which the event took place was a clear breach of the section 29 of *Kwara State local government law* Cap 33. The action of the *Executive Governor* and *House of Assembly* amount to *Executive and Legislative* rascality. It's against this background we call all peace loving Kwarans to condemn this act of lawlessness and impunity in strong terms.
Based on public outcry on the *Ways* and *Manners* the House handled the petition, the house later invited the Council Chairmen, *Hon Speakers,* *DPMs* , *Accountants* and *Treasurers* for questioning which was supposed to have taken place before the illegal suspension. Our Suspension was based on *Suspicion* . It is our belief that it is law that matters. However strong a suspicion is, it can never be good for conviction/disciplinary action.
The House recommendations allegedly indicted the *Sixteen Council Chairmen* on the remittance of 10% IGR being paid to their personal accounts.
As at this moment,the *Sixteen Local Government Vice Chairmen have not been invited for either questioning or interrogation, while the *Hon. Speakers who were invited by the *House of Assembly* were not found guilty. It's our contention that the whole episode is a breach of our Fundamental right to fair hearing as contained in Section 36(1)of 1999 constitution as amended.
In view of the aforementioned, the *Sixteen Local Government Vice Chairmen* , , *Hon. Speakers and elected councillors unanimously resolved as follows:*
*(¡)* Having exhausted all possible means to resolve the matter amicably and all efforts to secure positive response from the Government proved abortive; all elected *Councillors* , *Vice Chairmen,* *Secretaries* and *Supervisors* are directed to resume work immediately since the period of illegal suspension has expired. We are already in *Court* to ensure that such illegal act does not persist.
*(¡¡)* We implored the *Executive Governor Of Kwara State* and the *State House of Assembly* to extend their hands of magnanimity to the councils in order to move the State forward and we strongly belief that the Government will *Abide* by the rules and regulations as enshrined in the 1999 constitution which recognizes the *Local Government Councils* as the third tier of Government.
*(¡¡¡)* The constitution made provision for only Democratically elected Local Government. So, if the local government is democratically elected and they have fixed tenure, then nobody can remove them based on suspicion. Just as nobody can remove members of State and National Assemblies until their period lapses too.
Most unfortunately, in flagrant disobedience of the constitution and the local government law, the State Government foist an illegal 6months Suspension on us. The illegal Suspension was not accepted because we were not guilty of any offence; but we remained at home for peace to reign.
Cruciously Again , on 17th December 2019 , an illegal extension was pronounced by the Government. This extension is not known to the Constitution of the *Federal Republic of Nigeria*. Therefore , it is nothing but a rape on our *Fundamental Right* . The suspension is therefore rejected.
*(¡v)* We are in support of *Federal Government* strategies aimed at fighting corruption because it is now universally accepted that corruption poses critical challenges to economic and social development and diverts resources from legitimate causes beneficial to society at large; but due process is key in curbing the menace.
Conclusively , the *Supreme Court Judgment* has laid to rest argument whether or not the *State Governor* has power to dissolve the duly elected council *chairmen* and *Councillors*. It amounts to *Executive recklessness for Governor* to dissolve duly elected councils. The judgment goes further to say that there is no provision for *TIC* or *Sole Administrators* . Our Suspension from office is flagrant attempt to override the clear position of *Law* and *constitution* and *foist the unpopular* and *undemocratic caretaker committee on the Council* .
Finally , we urge all the *Council Democratically Elected Members* to get prepared for a press conference On Monday23RD, Dec 2019 for the masses Nationwide to see the unlawful treatment being meted on elected *Local Government* *Vice Chairmen* and *Councillors* by the Government of the day in *Kwara State* .
*Hon Yusuf Salihu Mohammed* ,
Chairman , Kw/St,
LGA V. Chairmen.
*Rt Hon Habeeb Olalere Quadri* ,