Extension Of Rivers LG Councils’ Tenure Unconstitutional, Court Declares

Court Orders Arrest Of Lawyer, Town Planner, Others For Forgery

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has declared the extension of the tenure of Local Government Council chairmen by the State House of Assembly as ‘unconstitutional and ultra vires to their oath of office’.

Presiding judge, Justice Daketima Gabriel Kio, in Suit No: PHC/1320/CS/2024, held that the Local Government Law No. 2 of 2024, purporting to extend the tenure of Local Government Council Chairmen for an additional six months after the expiration of their tenure was invalid.

Kio stated that it was inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Section 9 (1) of the Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018.

The chairmen of Opobo/Nkoro and Bonny local government areas, Enyiada Cookey-Gam, and Anengi Claude Wilcox, respectively, and four others were the Applicants in the suit while the governor of Rivers State, speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Attorney General of the State, among others, were the Respondents.

The court further held that the applicable law in the circumstances was the Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018 that fixed three-year tenure for Local Government Chairmen and Councillors and not the Local Government Law No. 2 of 2024, which was enacted to unlawfully extend their tenure.

Recall that the Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule-led State House of Assembly had attempted to extend the tenure of the local government chairmen in obvious defiance to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, with whom they have been having a running battle.

But the Opobo/Nkoro, Bonny, Ahoada-West, Ahoada-East, and Oyigbo LGA chairmen, not wanting to be dragged into any constitutional crisis, had approached the High Court of Rivers State to seek clarification on the issue. The court, however, ruled against the outgoing local government chairmen.

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