The 17 Local Government Council Chairmen in Plateau State who were suspended by the Governor Barr. Caleb Mutfwang have insisted that they remain as chairmen of their respective Councils until the court says otherwise.
The Council Chairmen made their position known on Friday in a press conference held at the Plateau State NUJ Secretariat conference hall through the ALGON Chairman Plateau State, Alexander Miskoom Naantuam.
“In the eyes of the law we remain Council Chairmen and Councilors respectively until the court determines otherwise; that democratically elected councils does not exists at the pleasure, whims and caprices of either the Governor or the House of Assembly. The Local Government is not a mere parastatal of the State.” The ALGON Chairman insisted
While reaffirming their confidence in the judiciary to do the needful the Council Chairmen said they have no force of good but they believe in the force of the law. And they believe that the force of the law will prevail, adding that they will report this brazen affront on the law to the court which they have run to for protection.
“We have abiding faith in the judiciary to invoke the disciplinary powers to overturn this unconstitutional behaviour.” He concluded.
According to him the Governor in pronouncing their suspension did not cite any constitutional or statutory support enabling him to suspend what he described as “17 Local government area structure” a phrase which does not let itself to easy comprehension. He said they understood the action contemplated by the State Assembly as a mere resolution which is advisory to the Governor. And in any case, such advise is not supposed to override any existing legislature.
While answering questions from Journalists, the Chairmen admitted that they were asked by the House of Assembly to render accountability on their income and expenditure but were not given adequate time to respond, meanwhile the Local government staff were on strike at the time. They assured the public that they are ready to render accountability on their income and expenditure if given the opportunity to do so.
They went further to describe the action of the Governor as premeditated and a political vendetta.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State Governor, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang on Thursday issued a press release through his Senior Special Assistant on media Mr. Gyang Bere suspending the 17 Local council Chairmen.
According to the statement the Governor acted based on the recommendation of the House of Assembly. The recommendation from the House is attributed to the Council Chairmen’s inability to make available record of their income and expenditure.