The Nigerian Senate on Friday condemned in the strongest terms the arbitrary dissolution of the democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue State and other states of the Federation.
The Senate also urged the Federal government to through the Ministry of Finance withhold Statutory Allocation to the Local Government Council not democratically elected.
These resolutions were reached following the adoption of a motion on the “Urgent Need to Halt the Erosion of Democracy: The Dissolution of Elected Councils in Benue State”, sponsored by Senator Abba Moro.
In his submission, Senator Moro noted that the dissolution of democratically elected local government councils and replacing them with Caretaker Committees is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended).
He said the Constitution of Nigeria guarantee a system of local government by democratically elected Councils.
“Also aware that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of local government councils by law.
“Further aware that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc, not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Council.
Senator Abba Moro said the governor and government of Benue State have not appealed the judgements, hence his action is against the grain of the rule of law.
Seconding the motion, Senator Victor Umeh (Anambra Centra), said the issue of incessant dissolution of Local Government Council is a matter that has continued to undermine the LG existence in Nigeria.
He maintained that the existence of LG is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is therefore sad, and the dissolution of local government system in Nigeria by some governors is outright infringement of the Constitution.
While insisting that there is nothing like Caretaker Committee in the Constitution, Senator Umeh urged the Senate to rise up to the occasion, and come hard to halt the fragrant infringement of the laws of the nation which are being made by the legislature.
Also contributing, Sen. Adams Oshiomhole, said the “truth has no political affiliation”, stressing that Governors do not have the power to dissolve duly elected local government councils,
“I stand here to support hitherto the spirit and truth in the motion as moved by my brother, Senator Abba Moro. Governor do not have power to dissolve elected local government Council.
“As a former governor, I had to live with elected LG chairmen who were from the other political parties, until their tenures were exhausted.
“It is time for the Senate to lend its voice and direct the Minister of finance not to release the funds belonging to local government councils that are not democratically elected.
However, in what appeared to be far from the majority views on the floor, Senator Alli Ndume, admonished that the appropriate place to go when the Constitution is being bridged is the court, and not the National Assembly.
Senator Ndume said most of the governors who are now in the Senate are guilty of this matter, saying “The best thing is to condemn it and then approach the court that the Constitution has no place for Caretaker Committee in our local government system.
The Senate therefore condemn the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected local government Council in Benue State, including the other states of the Federation.
It also directed the Federal government to withhold statutory Allocation to the Local Government Council not democratically elected.