Council law: Lagos Assembly plans stiffer penalty for erring council officials

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    By Lanre Adesanya

    Indications are pointing to the fact that upon conduct of the long drawn council election in Lagos State, would be council administrators; councillors and council chairmen will now have upgraded tenure like what obtains in the state and federal tiers of government.

    This is made more evident with the recent amendment proposal to the Local Government administration law by the state’s legislature, which entails tenure extension of a four years term instead of the substantive three years term and a more stringent and punitive measure advocated for erring council officials.

    The Lagos State House of Assembly in the proposed amendments which was sponsored by the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, move for addendum in sections 27 (1), 24 (a) and 12 (1).

    The Chairman House Committee on Local Government, Kazeem Alimi in a motion to kick start the affirmation of the proposed amendments, explained that the tenures of council chairmen and councilors would be adjusted to be in line with other representatives at the state level.

    According to him, the proposed amendment would also take charge of the power of the state Assembly to enforce removal or suspension of any erring council chairman upon the receipt of a petition from the concerned councillors.

    Alimi further disclosed that the law would make categorical statement that any chairman who had served for two terms would not be eligible to contest any election as the head of local council administration.

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    The Majority Leader, Sanai Agunbiade in his own contribution on the issue noted  that the Nigeria constitution gives state Assembly the power to create local government, adding that for such creation to be effective the House should also have the power to sanction any chairman if found wanting.

    Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso chairman house committee on Judiciary,Petitions and LASIEC,noted that after the creation of councils, it is crucial for us to monitor the activities of the council bosses, saying “failure to carry out proper investigation and pass resolution that must be obeyed, will be counter-productive.”

    However, the Deputy Majority Leader, Wahab Jimoh cautioned his colleagues over proposed section that empowers the House to remove or suspend defaulting council chairman.

    Jimoh argued that the House should not hamstrung the councilors, adding the legislative arm at the third tier of government is also paramount.

    The Speaker however allayed their fears that there was a dire need to accord the resolution of the House a bite of relevance with respect its being enforceable. There no provisions in the law that whittles or strips  the councilors powers in the proposed amendments.

    “We had passed resolutions for the outright removal of two or three erring council chairmen in the past but the Governor resistance halted it. With this new amendment, we as a House, can go ahead with the removal.”

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