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Rights group tackles Akwa Ibom Assembly over LG transition committees

Written by on April 18, 2024

A human rights group, the Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), has faulted the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly over its resolution authorising the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, to set up Transition Committees for the 31 Local Government Areas of the State.

The group in a statement by its Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, and the Secretary, Barr. Christopher Ekpo on Wednesday in Uyo described the Local Government Transition Committees as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

It could be recalled that Governor Umo Eno had through a letter with reference number GHU/AKS/S/104/VOL.1/607, addressed to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Udeme Otong, informed the House of Assembly that there was no provision in the 2023 budget for the conduct of local government elections, urging the Assembly to pass a resolution authorising him to set up interim administration at the 31 local government areas at the expiration of the tenure of the elected council officials on the 6th of December, 2023, a request that was speedily granted by the House of Assembly.

But in a position paper delivered by the CHRAN through its Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, the rights group frowned at what it called the “violation of Section 7 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) by the Government of Akwa Ibom State.”

“The CHRAN views the current Local Government Transition Committee arrangement imposed on the 31 local governments in Akwa Ibom State by the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, on 7th December, 2023, as unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional considering the clear provision of Section 7 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“The Center observes the near absence of governance and development at the local government level in Akwa Ibom State despite tremendous increase of allocation to the 31 local government areas from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy.

“The Center had through a petition dated 27th February, 2024 and addressed to the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Udeme Otong, called on the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to arrest the drift at the local government level and spur effective development at the grassroots level.

“The Center is hopeful that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly will rise to the occasion and rescue the dying local government councils so that the amended Independent Electoral Commission Law will find the territorial bases for its application.

“The Center is optimistic that when this Bill is passed by the House of Assembly and assented to by the State Governor, it will be fully implemented by this administration and subsequent administrations for the timely conduct of the Local Government Elections in Akwa Ibom State,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the Assembly Speaker, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, had, while reacting to the position of the CHRAN, insisted that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly acted within its constitutional powers.

Rights group tackles Akwa Ibom Assembly over LG transition committees


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