The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo State on Thursday reinstated all local government chairmen and councillors sacked by Governor Rochas Okorocha in the 27 councils last year.
The court held that the governor lacked the powers to sack elected governments at the third tier of government.
The court, presided over by Justice Uwani Abbaji, also nullified the appointment of transition committee chairmen by the governor to replace the sacked council chairmen.
Okorocha had, in his maiden broadcast in June 2011, announced the sacking of the elected council chairmen, and later appointed transitional committee chairmen to run the 27 council areas in the state.
But the council chairmen challenged their removal from office in an Owerri High Court, arguing that the governor had no constitutional power to sack them.
Consequently, the court, presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Benjamin Njemanze, held that the governor lacked the powers to remove the chairmen from office.
The court also held that the council chairmen failed to prove that they were sacked from office as they claimed, resulting in the filing of the appeal by the council chairmen.
Delivering judgment, Abbaji observed that all the submissions and arguments of the appellants and respondents were reviewed.
She noted that the high court in its earlier judgment confirmed that the governor axiomatically had no power to sack the democratically elected chairmen.
She further noted that the local government system was a constitutional matter and any action on the system should follow constitutional provisions.
The court held that the governor had no right to remove democratically elected chairmen from office, and ordered that the local government chairmen be re-instated.
The court, in its unanimous decision, further restrained the governor or any of his proxies from interfering in the administration of the local government system in the state.
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Category: Other States News