Police in Plateau State barred local government chairpersons from returning to their offices Tuesday, shortly after the state governor announced their sack.
The Plateau State government sacked the 17 council chairpersons on allegations of corruption, and directed the directors of personnel to take charge of the offices.
Governor Simon Lalong on Monday told the Muslim community who paid him Sallah homage at government house, that the decision to fire the council chairpersons was final.
But the affected officials challenged the decision in court, and declared they had secured a injunction stopping the governor from sacking them.
Last week, the chairperson of Bassa local government council, David Racha, escaped being lynched when he attempted resuming office.
In Jos South local government council on Monday, armed police officers besieged the headquarters to prevent the council chairman from entering his office. Also, a large number of armed police officers barricaded most local council secretariat early hours of Tuesday.
A police officer at the Jos South local government council Secretariat who pleaded not to be named because was not authorised to speak on the matter, said their action was a directive to prevent a break down of law and order at government establishments. Meanwhile, the state chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Raymond Dabo, has faulted the removal of the 17 council chairmen.
According to the PDP chairman, the governor contravened the laws establishing Local Government Authorities in the country.
“A local government council shall stand dissolved after the expiration of a period of three years commencing from the date when the chairman took the oath of office or when the legislative council was inaugurated,” he said.
Mr. Dabo also cited the court directive, authorising the chairpersons to remain in office. He said “this is despite the existence of a court injunction restraining the same administration from any attempt to unseat the said chairmen”.
The court injunction obtained by the dissolved council chairmen at the Federal High Court Jos restraining their sack from office as presented to journalists was dated June 15, 2015.
“We hereby condemn in totality the disruption of democratic structures at the Local Government level and demand that due process be complied with in the strictest sense of the word, ” said Mr. Dabo.
The sacked 17 council chairpersons are mostly PDP candidates, apart from Langtang north which was won by a DPP candidate. Elections were not held in Jos north and Wase local government areas due to insecurity, and PDP members were appointed as caretaker committee chairpersons.