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Bauchi: Court dismisses case challenging relocation of Tafawa Balewa LGA headquarters to Bununu

Posted by on December 19, 2021 0

Justice Rabi Talatu Umar of the Bauchi State High Court has dismissed a case seeking to nullify the resolution of the state House of Assembly relocating the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu town.

The judge, who doubles as the state Chief Judge, dismissed the case filed on 13th December 2018 by nine plaintiffs for themselves and on behalf of the people and ethnic groups of Sayawa, Jarawa, Ngas and Sigdawa in Lere District of Tafawa Balewa LGA.

The plaintiffs, Reverend Sama’ila Banike; Mr Sukar Jibra; Bulus Bature; Amos Baushe; Rev (Capt) Iliya Chiroma; Mr Luka Magyana; Mr Markus Goma; Mr Azi Nyam and Pastor Bitrus Ajik; had dragged the Assembly; Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly; Bauchi State Governor; Bauchi State Government and Attorney General of Bauchi State before the court.

They sought in their originating summons the court ruling on 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.

They also sought the court 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.

The plaintiffs sought a declaration that the state 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 LGA from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu, by virtue of Section 3 (6) and 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs sought a declaration that the state government lacks the power to pass a resolution transferring or changing the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa LGA from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu, and that the second and third defendants lack the vires to implement or give effect to such a declaration by virtue of Section 3 (6) and 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution.

They also sought a declaration that it is only the National Assembly that has the power to change a local government headquarters as well as an order that the resolution passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly transferring or changing the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa LGA from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

The plaintiffs prayed for a declaration that the act of second and third defendants giving effect to the resolution passed by the state House of Assembly in transferring or changing the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa LGA to Bununu is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.

They also prayed the court for an order quashing the resolution passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly transferring or changing the headquarters of the local government from Tafawa Balewa to Bununu town.

They also wanted the court to give 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.

Delivering judgment in the case, Justice Umar held that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers state Houses of Assembly to make law for peace, order and good governance of their states.

She noted that there had been a series of crises in Tafawa Balewa LGA, which made it practically impossible for the smooth administration of the local government.

According to the state Chief Judge, “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 have been a series of crises in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which has made it practically impossible for the smooth administration of the local government.”

She explained that while many lives were lost, properties worth millions of naira were destroyed during the series of crises that took place in Tafawa Balewa LGA between 1991 and 2001.

“I am 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 only backed up with the existing law duly passed but was also done to avoid the persistent security breach in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.

“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 CJ held.

In view of the court findings, Justice Umar held that she “sees no merit in the application filed by the plaintiffs dated 30th October 2018 and filed on 13th December 2018. Same is hereby dismissed.”

Bauchi: Court dismisses case challenging relocation of Tafawa Balewa LGA headquarters to Bununu

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