Bauchi High Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Outlawing Assembly Resolution

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By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi

A High Court 1 sitting in Bauchi presided over by the State Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar has dismissed a case seeking to nullify the resolution of the State House of Assembly in changing the Headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu town.

“Whether the Bauchi State House of Assembly has the vires to pass a resolution transferring or changing the Headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu, and cause the said resolution to be given effect by the Executive Governor of Bauchi state”.

The plaintiff is also seeking the declaration as to whether Section 3 (6) and Section 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 2 of the schedule to the State (creation and transition provisions) Act 1996 gave power to the State House of Assembly to change the Headquarters of Local Government.

Plaintiffs who are Rev. Sama’ila Banike, Mr. Sukar Jibra, Bulus Bature, Amos Baushe, Rev. (Capt.) Iliya Chiroma, Mr. Luka Magyana, Mr. Markus Goma, Mr. Azi Nyam, Pastor Bitrus Ajik, filed the application for themselves and on behalf of the people and ethnic groups of Sayawa, Jarawa, Ngas and Sigdawa extractions in Lere District of Tafawa Balewa Local Government of Bauchi state.

The case which has originating summons by the plaintiff dated 30th October 2018, and filed on 13th December 2018, has its defendants as Bauchi State House of Assembly, Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Governor of Bauchi State, Bauchi State Government and Attorney General of Bauchi state.

The plaintiffs have in the case similarly claiming a declaration that the Bauchi state House of Assembly or any other arm of the Bauchi State Government lacks the power to pass a resolution transferring or changing the Headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu, by virtue of Section 3 (6) and 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution.

They also want a declaration that the Bauchi State Government lacks the power to pass a resolution transferring or changing the Headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu, and that the 2nd and 3rd Defendants lacks the vires to implement or give effect to such a declaration.

By virtue of Section 3 (6) and 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution, Applicants also want a declaration that it is only the National Assembly has the power to change the Headquarters of a Local Government, as well as an order that the resolution passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly transferring or changing the headquarters of T/Balewa LGA from Balewa to Bununu is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The plaintiffs have in the same token prayed for a declaration that the act of 2nd and 3rd defendants giving effect to the resolution passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly in transferring or changing the Headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government to Bununu is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

Plaintiffs prayed the Court for an order quashing the resolution passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly transferring or changing the Headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu town.

“A perpetual injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves, assigns, agents howsoever described from further passing any resolution or taking any step to transfer or change the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government from Tafawa Balewa”, among others.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar stated that, “It is worthy to state that Section 4 (7) of the 1999 Constitution empowers the House of Assembly to make Laws for the peace, order and good governance of the state or any part thereof.

“This being the position of the constitution, I will be right to point out that the action taken by the Bauchi State House of Assembly was for administrative convenience bearing in mind that there has been series of crisis in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which has made it practically impossible for the smooth administration of the Local Government”.

Chief Judge Rabi Umar explained that it is a known secret that many lives were lost and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed during the series of crisis that took place in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area between 1991 and 2001.

Judge said, “Iam of the humble view that the action of the Bauchi State House of Assembly in relocating Tafawa Balewa Local Government Headquarters to Bununu town not is it backed up with the existing law duly passed, but was also done to avoid the persistent security breach in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area”.

She adduced, “As far as this Court is concerned, the resolution passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly by the said relocation was done in the overall interest of Tafawa Balewa Local Government in particular and Bauchi state in general to forestall peace, order and good governance of the state”.

The Presiding Judge submitted that in view of the Court finding, it sees no merit in the application filed by the plaintiffs dated 30th October, 2018 and filed on 13th December, 2018, ‘same is hereby dismissed’. 

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