The Hope Uzodinma Government, have issued stern warning to the suspended elected Local Government officials, following their threat to resume their offices in compliance with a court ruling authorizing them to.
Uzodinma’s warning was contained in a release by the Commissioner for Justice COC Akaolisa, and reads as follows;
GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE, IMO STATE
THOSE WHO TAKE LAWS INTO THEIR HANDS DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK
The Attention of the Office of The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Imo State has been drawn to the misrepresentations of facts, false claims and threats by the former Local Government Chairmen under the Rochas Okorocha Administration to enter and take over the Local Government Councils in Imo State by force in total disregard for the proper legal status of their claim. I am therefore constrained as the Chief Law Officer of Imo State to clarify the true Legal Position as follows:-
- In 2011 Chief Rochas Anayo Okorocha as Governor without regard for democratic principles and practice and in total disrespect for the wish and desire of Imo people dissolved elected Local Government Chairmen and Councillors in the 27 Local Government Areas in the State.
- The dissolved Local Government Chairmen proceeded to the High Court and in a landmark judgment the Imo State High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of Imo State Justice BA. Njemanze nullified the said dissolution and upheld the right of the Chairmen to remain in office and complete there tenure. This judgment and consequential orders were not obeyed by the Rochas Anayo Okorocha administration leading to the matter going before the Court of Appeal.
- The Court of Appeal in a resounding judgment declared that the Governor of Imo State had no right to dissolved democratically elected Councils and that the Action of the then Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha was illegal, null and void and of no effect.
- All efforts, representations, pleas and admonitions by Imo Citizens to the Governor to respect the judgment of the court of Appeal were rejected by the governor.
- The Chairmen again took their matter before the Supreme Court wherein the matter is still pending.
- While the case was pending at the Supreme Court and without any proper primaries, without any legal resolution of the case of the dissolved chairmen, and to the surprise and consternation of Imo people, Chief Rochas Anayo Okorocha in his usual unconventionality and disregard for legal principles brazenly selected some individuals and declared them Local Government Chairmen against the electoral laws of Imo State.
- The purported election was conducted a few months to his leaving office despite the fact that he ran the councils in Imo State for complete 7 years and a few months without any elected Local Government Councils.
- On assumption of office the Ihedioha administration on the resolution of the House of Assembly and in accordance with the provisions of the Imo State Local Government Administration Law dissolved the illegally selected Chairmen imposed as elected Local government Chairmen.
- The said Chairmen immediately filed several law suits in the Imo State High Court challenging their removal. They also filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Owerri challenging the appointment of Caretaker Chairmen by the Ihedioha administration.
- On assumption of office the Hope Uzodimma government removed the Interim Management Committee set up by Ihedioha while awaiting the outcome of the cases filed by the Rochas imposed Chairmen pending at the High Court and the Federal High Court.
- However the Court of Appeal, Owerri ordered a Stay of Execution in respect of the judgment obtained by the Rochas Anayo Okorocha imposed Chairmen against the Ihedioha Caretaker Committee at the Federal High Court, Owerri.
- It is therefore important to state categorically that the Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma Administration has not dissolved any elected Local Government Council in Imo State. The administration as a law abiding government will obey the final decision of the Courts of our land. We shall neither be pressured nor blackmailed into succumbing to the antics of any person on matters legitimately before the Courts.
It is regrettable that the same persons who sought judicial definition of their rights in accordance with the rule of law are the same persons threatening to take the law into their hands by breaking into the Local Government Councils despite the order of the Court of Appeal for maintenance of the status quo ante bellium.
This administration will respect the rights of all Imo Citizens but will also defend the integrity of our Judicial Process and the Courts. We therefore advise the Rochas Anayo Okorocha Chairmen to await the outcome of their matters at the Imo State High Court, the Court of Appeal and the matter at the Supreme Court.
The Government will take all needful actions to protect the rights of all Imo people. Those who attempt to take the laws into their hands, or seek to breach the peace will only be doing so at their own risk.
CHIEF (SIR) C.O.C. AKAOLISA (KSJI)
HON. ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND
COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE.