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Court nullifies tenure elongation for Rivers LGA chairmen

Court nullifies tenure elongation for Rivers LGA chairmen
May 21
19:44 2024

A high court in Rivers has nullified the six-month tenure elongation of the state’s local government chairmen granted by the Martins Amaewhule-led house of assembly.

Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Daketima Kio, the presiding judge, declared Local Government Law No. 2 of 2024, whose provisions extended the tenure of local government chairmen, invalid.

The judge gave the judgment in a case filed by Enyiada Cookey-Gam & 6 Ors vs. The Governor of Rivers State & Ors.

The judge ruled that the law was inconsistent with the 1999 constitution and section 9(1) of Rivers State Law No. 5 of 2018, which fixed three-year tenure for local government chairmen and councillors.

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The judge stressed that the attempt to extend the tenure was unlawful and violated the officials’ oath of office.

The Amaewhule-led assembly amended Local Government Law Number 5 of 2018, amidst the political crisis in the state.

The amended law allows the house of assembly to extend the tenure of the elected chairmen and councillors where elections are not held before the expiration of their three-year tenure.

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The applicants had prayed the court for a declaration that, under section 9(1) of the Rivers State Local Government Amendment Law No. 5 of 2018, the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the 23 LGAs of Rivers State is three years.

They also sought a declaration that the tenure of office of the elected chairmen and members of the LGAs would expire on the 17th of June 2024, having commenced on the 18th of June 2021, when they were sworn in.

“A declaration that the defendants cannot in any manner or form extend the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas after the expiration of their tenure,” the relief sought by the applicants reads.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.

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“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 28th, 29th, and 30th defendants (the governor, the government house, and the attorney-general) from giving effect to any purported extension of the tenure of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.”

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