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Monday, July 22, 2024

Fubara/Wike proxy war: Fearful Rivers LGA chairmen go to court for Police, DSS protection

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By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.

A new chapter in the battle of supremacy between Rivers State governor, Mr. Siminalayi Fubara, and his benefactor and immediate predecessor, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Brarr. Nyesom WikeI, has been opened in a Federal High Court, with local government area chairmen loyal to Wike seeking a court order to protect them from the state government and its officials.

Recall that two redeployed state commissioners known to be loyal to Wike, resigned from the government within hours of their redploment by Fubara.

In a fresh suit, Local Government Chairmen in Rivers State have asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the Director General, State Security Service (SSS) to provide them adequate security for their lives and properties.

They claimed that under sections 215 of the 1999 Constitution and sections 4, 7 and 9 of the Police Act 2020, the IGP, SSS and other security agencies are under statutory obligations and bound to ensure their security and welfare.

In an originating summons instituted on their behalf by Mahmud Abubakar Magaji SAN, the council Chairmen also sought order of the Court against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), not to allow any other laws to be implemented for local governments in Rivers other than the ones enacted by the State House of Assembly.

In the originating summons, the Chairmen said that they predicated their fears on alleged threat and boast by the Rivers State Government not to implement or enforce the laws made the state House of Assembly for the local governments.

They formulated seven major issues for the court to determine in resolving their grievances with all the defendants in the suit.

Among others, they asked the court to determine “whether by the combined provisions of sections 215 and 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as well as sections 4, 7 and 9 of the Police Act 2020, the IGP, CP Rivers, SSS and Director, SSS and other security agencies are not statutorily bound to provide security and welfare for their lives and properties.

“Whether by the combined provisions of sections 215 and 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as well as sections 4, 7 and 9 of the Police Act 2020, the IGP, CP Rivers, SSS and Director, SSS are not bound to recognize and enforce all laws and regulations made by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Whether by the combined provisions of sections 215 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and sections 4, 7 and 9 of the Police Act 2020, the defendants are not bound to recognize and enforce Rivers State Local Government (Amendment) Law No. 4 of the 2024 passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“Whether by virtue of the combined provisions of sections 7 and the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the local government coincils in Rivers State are not Constitutionally recognized and autonomous as the 3rd tier of government and thereby entitled to Allocation from Federation Account.

Upon resolving the issues in their favour, the Chairmen asked the court to make declaration that the IGP, CP Rivers, SSS and Director, SSS and other security agencies are statutorily bound to provide security and welfare for their lives and properties

They also applied for a declaration that the IGP, CP Rivers, SSS and Director, SSS and other security agencies are bound to recognize and enforce all laws and regulations inclusive of the one made by the State House of Assembly of Rivers State.

The chairmen also want declaration that no organ of any government has power to withhold the financial allocations due to local governments in Rivers State.

The originating summons is supported by a 29 paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Dr Chidi LLoyd, a legal practitioner and Chairman of Emohua Local Government on behalf of other 41 Chairmen.

Some of the Chairmen who filed the suit are Dr Chidi LLoyd, Chairman, Emohua local government, Hon Alwell Ihunda Chairman,Port Harcourt local government, Dr Nwanosike Samuel, Ikwerre local government area, Barrister George Ariolu, Chairman, Obio-Akpor local government, Dr Obbinna Anyawu, Chairman, Etchi local government area and Hon Chidorom Nwaiwu, Chairman, Omuma local government area.

Others are Dr Hope Ikiriko, Chairman, Ahoada West local government area, Barrister Benjamin Isreal Eke, Chairman, Ahoada East Local Government and Dr Roland Sekibo, Chairman, Akuku-Toru local government area among others.

The defendants are IGP, CP Rivers, DG SSS, Director SSS Rivers, AGF, Chairman Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Rivers State Government, AG Rivers State and Finance Commissioner in Rivers State as 1st to 9th defendants.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had on Friday last week stopped the Rivers State Government from withholding the financial allocations of the 42 Local Government Areas in the state pending the determination of a.motion on notice for interlocutory injunction instituted by the Chairmen of the Council against the state and nine others.

In a ruling, the Court stopped the Inspector General of Police IGP, Police Commissioner in Rivers, Director General, State Security Service, SSS and Director, State Security Service SSS from withdrawing the security personnel of the local government Chairmen pending the final resolution of the their motion on notice.

Justice James Kolawole Omotoso issued the order for status quo to be maintained by the parties in the a marked FHC/ABJ/CS/537/2024.

Meanwhile, no date has been set for hearing of the originating summons.

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