Governor Nyesom Wike acted illegally by suspending the chairman of Abua-Odua local Government Council, the Civil Rights Council said.
CRC operating in Rivers told Wike that the suspension of Daniel E. O. Daniel, chairman of the council breached the Nigerian constitution.
Wike suspended Daniel for one month for alleged lack of commitment in the fight against Coronavirus. He was the second council boss to be so treated in recent days.
In a statement, CRC Rivers state said the Governor has no legal powers to suspend an elected local council chairman and has acted contrary to the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rule of Law.
The statement was signed by CRC’s Legal Adviser, Mercy Christopher, Prince Wiro, Chairman, CRC Rivers State and Arochukwu Paul Ogbonna, National Coordinator
”This is the second suspension of a local government chairman by Gov. Wike due to the COVID19 pandemic, the first being the suspension of Solomon Abel Eke, the local government chairman of Obio-Akpor local government Council.
”The governor is acting outside his executive prerogative and in breach of the Law. Whatever the rationale of the Governor, he is either unaware of the position of the law or adamantly taking laws into his hands.
CRC said the Supreme Court of Nigeria held in GOVERNOR, EKITI STATE AND ORS v. PRINCE SANMI OLUBUNMO & 13 ORS that the governor of a state cannot interfere with the running of a local government council.
“The Supreme Court explained that by the provision of Section 7 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is guaranteed.
”Hence, the court noted that any action of a governor which has the capacity of undermining the same Constitution is equal to executive recklessness which would not be condoned”.
The CRC said the suspension of the local council chairman by Gov Wike is a blatant disregard of the Law and condemned it in all entirety.
The CRC called on the governor to reinstate the suspended local government chairmen as he does not have such powers to suspend them.
CRC also demanded that the government of Rivers State respect the law and not incite anarchy in the state.
”The Constitution has not been suspended and should not be disregarded especially during such instability.
“There is a great need for both the governor and the governed to obey the law and observe the tenets of the fundamental human rights now more than ever.
“We thus enjoin everyone to stay safe, law abiding and vigilant.”