The High Court of Lagos State, presided over by the Hon Justice Abdulfatal Lawal, on Friday declared that the appointment of caretaker committees over the administration of local government councils in Lagos State is illegal and unconstitutional.
It therefore directed LASIEC to conduct elections in all local governments within 30 days.
The court held that no governor is empowered by the constitution to take over the administration of local governments through the appointment of sole administrators or caretaker committees.
The court held that the system of local government can only be managed by democratically elected people and if the state House of Assembly should make any law validating sole administrators for local government, such law will be invalid and unconstitutional.
The court held that the Lagos State Local Government law, which allows for the appointment of caretaker committees, is illegal and unconstitutional. It held that section 1(3) of the constitution stipulates that Nigeria should not be run in any manner that is contrary to the constitution.
The court rejected the excuse of Lagos State Independent Eletoral Commission (LASIEC), that it was waiting for voters register from INEC, since the same voters register and polling booths were used for the April, 2015 elections.
The National Conscience Party had instituted the case in January 2014, to challenge the appointment of caretaker committees to run the affairs of local government councils in Lagos State and sought an order of mandamus to direct the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission to conduct elections.
The team of lawyers for NCP was led by Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa while Mr Lawal Pedro, SAN, led the team of lawyers for Lagos State.
Speaking shortly after the verdict, NCP’s lawyer Ebub Adegboruwa praised the judgement and the Judge for being courageous.
He said:”I commend the judge for his manifest courage, as this has once again proved that the Nigerian judiciary has been the sustainer of our democracy.
“I call upon the Lagos State Government to immediately implement the judgment of the court by dismantling all the illegal structures of local government caretaker committees”.