An Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City has declared as illegal, the removal from office of Mr . Yakubu Musa as Chairman of Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo.
The court presided over by Justice V.O.Oviawe, delivered the judgement in suit no B/204/05/2019.
Musa was removed from office by Governor Godwin Obaseki in July 2019 over alleged corrupt practices based on the findings of an investigative panel he set up.
The panel, the governor said, recommended that Musa be “removed from office on the grounds of negligence of duty, improper accounting and auditing of the council’s finances, lack of adequate supervision of staff and for allowing fraud under his nose.”
But in his judgment, Oviawe declared the action of the Governor as “illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, and of no effect” and set aside the purported removal.
The Judge held that the state government failed to comply with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Sections 20 and 21 of Edo State Local Government Law, 2000 (as amended).
The Court further held that the removal of office of Yakson based upon the findings of a fictitious and nonexistent investigative committee using a criminal allegation of involvement in fraud of public funds without giving him a fair hearing is unconstitutional.
The Court however failed to grant the order restraining the governor from interfering with the rights of the elected chairman of Etsano West because the tenure of all elected LG council officials in the state have since lapsed
Reacting to the judgment, Musa said: “To me, it is a victory for democracy and victory for the people of Etsako West and I thank the God for giving tbe judge the courage to deliver the judgment.
“I am very happy about it I will go back and assure the people of Etsako West to keep hope alive. The future is pregnant and things will work according to the plan of God, soon enough”#.