Suspension of Lawmakers, LG Chairmen by Kogi Assembly Condemnable – CHRCR

Spread the love

A civil society organization, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), has condemned the recent suspension of 9 lawmakers and seven local government council chairmen by Kogi State House of Assembly.

In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Comrade Idris Miliki Abdul, CHRCR said “democracy is at crossroads in Kogi State House of Assembly.”

Miliki insisted that the suspension over alleged acts of terrorism, gross misconduct, electoral violence and anti-party activities in the just concluded 2023 general election is worrisome and dangerous to democratic development.

He noted that legislators are supposed to be an independent arm of government that set its own rules and procedure, but the recent development where members are suspended at random calls for caution, as legislators are elected to represent their constituencies.

“Any suspensions carried out on any of them, legitimately or otherwise, has reflection and impact on the constituencies they represent.

“More worrisome and condemnable is when Local Government Chairmen heading another tier of government entirely were suspended based on correspondence or complain from the executive arms of government is disturbing.

“That Chairmen of Local Government were suspended before any committee reports is worrisome in the democratic dispensation we find ourselves. What then should be the role of legislators at the Local Government level, popularly refer to or called councillors?

“It should be noted that Nigeria presently practice Federalism with three tiers of Government in which each work independently as provided for in the Nigeria Constitution and relevant laws in Nigeria.

“The fundamental question is, can a national chairman of a party and the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria complain to the National Assembly against any governor in Nigeria and such governor will be out-rightly suspended by the National Assembly?,” he said.

Miliki argued that activities of the State Assembly must follow the rule of law and democratic principles.

He said elected legislators and local government chairmen were elected by the generality of the citizens, that goes beyond political parties, as after the party primaries, the electorate choose who represent them at various level. Therefore, the political platform through which a candidate emerged can no longer solely determine the destiny of such elected individuals in the name of anti-party activities.

“Where a crime or criminality has been establish, reports should have been made to relevant security agencies for prosper investigation and persecution, as everybody is presume innocent until proven guilty by court of law under the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Before any local government chairman can be removed, the legislative arm of such Local Government should have played a verifiable role, by carrying out their own legislative investigations as prescribed by law, and reports are made to the State Assembly. All reports made available to the public on the current suspensions doesn’t indicate such processes has been followed.”

He called on the Kogi State House of Assembly to refrain from turning itself to a unit or department under government house in Kogi State.

He also called on Governor Yahaya Bello to respect democratic principles and due process in all his activities, including dealing with all citizens of Kogi State.

Spread the love