Forum Raises Alarm Over Rivers LG Chairmen’s Alleged Plot To Collect Allocation Beyond Tenure

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The Rivers Good Governance Forum (RGGF) has raised the alarm over alleged plot by the outgoing chairmen of Local Government Councils in Rivers State to obtain a court injunction to enable them collect monthly allocations after the expiration of their tenure in June.

The forum, in a statement by Comrade Chukwudi Ezenwaji, Director of Mobilisation, and Hon. Cyril Enebeli,
Media director, said the pro-Wike outgoing local government chairmen had approached the Federal High Court Abuja even after closing hours on Friday to secretly obtain the injunction so that they would have access to public funds after they served out their term in office.

The group alerted the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the National Judicial Council (NJC) that if urgent steps were not taken, the Federal High Court located in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where Nyesom Wike superintends as Minister will give legal backing the illegality of hijacking Rivers State Local Government allocations by the outgoing chairmen after tenure expiration.

According to the statement, it was part of this plot that one of the pro-Wike Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government, Samuel Nwanosike, boasted few days ago that he will not vacate his office at the end of his tenure on June 16.

The statement recalled that in a viral video released penultimate Thursday to the Court order, Nwanosike dared the state governor, Siminalayi Fubara, with his refusal to vacate his office.

“The vivacious outgoing chairman
Nwanosike justified his decision through a purported extension of tenure authorised by non-existing state lawmakers led by one Martin Amaewhule.

“Nwanosike boasted referring to the Governor that ‘Who are you to say Martins Amaewhule is not the Rivers House of Assembly Speaker? If Amaewhule says that because the governor of Rivers State failed in his duty to conduct local government elections, and that, I, Dr Nwanosike Samuel, whose tenure by the oath of office I took and the certificate of return I was issued when I contested my second tenure election should remain in office. So shall we remain in the office in Rivers State!

“He had said, ‘we are sending a message to those who are threatening them to wear their jeans – do like this, don’t do like that. We don’t wear jeans in Ikwere local government. We wear white, we tie wrapper we wear Ogbakata. Come and disobey the law, we will wait for you. The law of Nigeria is the law passed by Martin Amaewhule. If dem born you well, show your face. Thank you.”

The Forum also reminded the judiciary and Nigerians generally of
a Rivers State High Court’s declaration that the extension of the tenure of Local Government Council chairmen by the State House of Assembly was ‘unconstitutional and ultra vires to their oath of office’.

“It was earlier this week when the 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.

“So the Judiciary will be shooting itself in the foot if the evil plot by the outgoing chairmen is giving backing by the High Court in Abuja when the Rivers State High Court has already ruled that those people’s tenure has not and can not be extended,” they stated.

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