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NIGERIA: A’bom Assembly Moves against Appointment of Caretaker Committee in Councils

Appointment of caretaker committees into the 31 Local Government Councils of Akwa Ibom State may be a thing of the past if the State House of Assembly adopts a motion now before it against appointment of local government caretaker committee in councils.

The state lawmakers, during plenary, noted that the introduction caretaker committees in local government administration was illegal and unconstitutional.

Presenting his report on the review of local government Administration Law 2007 in the state, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon Ekong Sampson argued that the caretaker system of government was alien and unknown to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to him, the act breached section 7 (1) of the constitution hence canvassed the abolition of the committees in State.
He said that the local government Administration Law 2007(as now amended) when passed would declare illegal further implementation of transition committees at the third tier of government in the state after the expiration of the tenure of democratically elected chairmen and councillors.

In its report, the Adhoc Committee pegged the tenure of local government chairmen in the state at three years, de scribing as wrong approach, the dissolution of local government council by the State House of Assembly.

“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall subject to Section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, fi nance and functions of such councils.”

The Adhoc Committee also proposed that the Finance and General Purpose Committee (FGPC) be held at least once in a month within the council’s secretariat where minutes of the previous meeting must be distributed to members in attendance.

The constitution further places the power to provide the legal framework for the administration of local councils on states; however, it never conferred on the state such powers as substituting “democratically elected” leaders at that tier of government with “appointed” ones.

On the issue of impeachment, the committee stated that the element of clarity, transparency, fairness, due process and accountability be incorporated in the proposed harmonized law, stressing that the bill when passed into law be made public and accessible to the general public, especially the major stakeholders in the local government administration.

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