Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has lost an appeal filed against 271 elected councillors sacked in July 2015, before the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos.
The sacked councillors, through their counsel, Mr Gyang Zi, had sued Lalong, the State Attorney General and the State House of Assembly for their removal from office describing their removal as “illegal and unconstitutional’’.
They filed the case against the trio before Justice David Mann of State High Court III.
But the governor challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and its decision to take the councillors preliminary objection along with the substantive case.
Lalung failed in the suit and quickly appealed against the ruling.
The appellants, through their counsel, Mr Victor Paul, had prayed the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court.
Paul also sought an order that the preliminary objection of his clients should be heard first before the substantive suit.
But the appellate court, presided by Justices, A.G. Mshelia (lead Judge), A.H. Abiru and E.O. Williams, faulted the objection of the decision of the lower court by Lalong and others
While upholding the decision of the lower court, the appellate court said “there is no problem with the lower court hearing both the substantive and the preliminary objection at the same time’’.
The judges said the appeal lacked merit and as such, dismissed it forthwith.
Shortly after the judgement, Zi told newsmen in Jos that the decision was “very satisfactory’’ as it has gone to show that there was hope for the common man.
“We are happy that the appellate court saw reasons with the decision of the lower court and upheld it by dismissing the appeal of Gov. Lalong,’’ he said.
Zi said his clients would go back to the High Court to continue with the pursuance of their rights, having been wrongfully sacked by the state government.
Local Government chairmen equally removed from office prematurely blame the state governor for the action they described as illegal and are now in court challenging the APC administration.