WIke Royalists and Rivers LG chairmen back APC, call for impeachment of Fubara

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The Local Government Area Chairmen in Rivers State have backed the call by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the call on the Rivers State House of Assembly to quickly commence and impeachment process on the governor of the state, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.

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The 21 LGA chairmen in the state under the umbrella of Association Of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers State Chapter, said the call was necessary to safeguard democracy amd instill the Rule of Law in the state.

Addressing pressmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, Chairman of ALGON in the state, Hon. Allwell Ihunda, who also is the chairman of Port Harcourt City LGA, decried that the Governor of the state has withheld allocation of the LGAs since April.

Ihunda said the development was a show of executive rascality on the part of the governor, noting that the governor has refused to convene the Joint Account Allocation Committee Meeting (JAAC) which is the prerequisite for the release and disbursement of funds between the state and LGAs.

He described the governor’s action as illegal, adding that the state was at the verge of being plunged into totalitarianism.

Ihunda said: It has come to the notice of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers State Chapter that the Rivers State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, GSSRS, has neglected, failed and deliberately refused to hold the statutory Joint Account Allocation Committee Meeting (JAAC) which is the prerequisite for the release and disbursement of funds due to the Local Governments in the State Joint Local Government Account and has continued to withhold the statutory allocation due to the 23 Local Governments Councils of Rivers State since the month of April, 2024 (and in the case of Emohua since March, 2024) till date for no just cause, thereby starving the third tier of government of the funds required to discharge its statutory functions in the administration of the Local Government Areas.

“It has also come to our notice that the Governor of Rivers State held a meeting with Heads of Local Government Administration (HLGA), Heads of Personnel Management (HPM), Treasurers of Local Governments and other Directors on Monday the 6th day of May, 2024 in Government House Port Harcourt whereat he directed them to go and compile for presentation to him of the salary vouchers and over heads of civil servants (excluding Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Councilors and other political office holders), for the various Local Governments with a view to unlawfully dipping his hands into Local Government funds to pay staff salaries directly without the involvement of the democratically elected Local Government Chairmen.”

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Ihunda noted that the Governor of the state is seeking to proscribe the system of Local Government guaranteed under section 7 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, noting that the action is tantamount to an illegal proscription of the Local Government Councils.

He noted that Fubara is flaunting the law of the land which he swore to upholding, calling on the State House of Assembly to take steps to cut the excesses of the governor.

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“This conduct of the Rivers State Government which smacks of executive high-handedness and lawlessness is not only despicable and unconscionable in a democratic setting, but is also unconstitutional given the clear provisions of sections 3(6), 7 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended which not only guarantees the system of Local Governments by democratically elected Local Government Councils across the Federation of Nigeria including in Rivers State, but which also vests the Local Government Councils with the right to receive statutory allocations from the Federation Account paid through the State Joint Allocation Account.

“It is even more worrisome to note that the Governor of Rivers State took the decision to withhold the statutory allocation in this case in flagrant violation of the subsisting interim order of the Federal High Court (coram Hon. Justice J. K. Omotosho (J) entered in suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/537/2024 on the 25th day of April, 2024) which mandated all the parties to the suit, including the Rivers State Government (who is the 7th Defendant therein) to maintain the status quo and not to take any step that will render the pending motion for interlocutory injunction before the court nugatory.

We therefore call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the Federal Government of Nigeria to intervene by calling the Governor of Rivers State to order with a view to avoiding a breakdown of governance, law
and order in Rivers State.

“We call on the Honourable Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to take appropriate steps to check the excesses of the Governor of Rivers State and ensure the survival and sustenance of democratic institutions in Rivers State.”

We’ll not vacate office after our tenure

Meanwhile, the Legal Adviser of the body, Chief Hon. Dr. Irastus Awoto, who is the Chairman of Andoni LGA, noted that the democratically elected Chairmen would not leave office, adding that the law empowers to stay additional six months in office.

Awoto said: “Yes, we got elected in 2021 and our tenure is to expire in June. But by now LG elections ought to have been concluded and the winners awaiting swearing in. The Assembly has seen that no action has been taking in respect of conducting an election and in their wisdom knows there shouldn’t be any vacuum and we have to maintain democratically elected Chairmen as in the local government law said until elections are done, this Chairmen will stay in office for another six months in the interim.

“As a matter of fact, in respect of this too we went to court, because the state government has not shown any attention as regards local government elections. What we are seeing is associates of the governor making comments that on thr 17th and 18th of June they are going to invade LG offices and they will bring everybody down. This is an invitation to anarchy.

“We as local government Chairmen we going to remain in office because the law as amended by the Rivers State House of Assembly says so. That law has given us additional six month and we will remain in office after the expiration.”


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