Edo State High Court 4, Benin has nullified the illegal removal of the elected Chairman of Esan West Local Government Council, Patrick Aguinede of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court, presided over by Justice D.I. Okungbowa, on Friday declared Aguinede the valid and duly-elected chairman of the LG council.
The trial judge declared as null and void the purported removal of Aguinede as the council’s helmsman by Edo governor, Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and directed the LG chief to immediately resume office.
Justice Okungbowa held that Edo governor and the government failed to comply with the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of Edo State Local Government Law 2000 (as amended), while also failing to consult members of Edo State House of Assembly on the grounds of removal of Aguinede, as provided by law, before suspending the APC chieftain.
The trial judge also held that since the purported suspension was void in law, every other action predicated on it was invalid, thereby awarding N200,000 as cost in favour of Aguinede.
Reacting on behalf of the council chief, his lawyer, Famous Osawaru, of the law firm of Ehiogie West-Idahosa, described the judgment as courageous, strengthening democracy and promoting the rule of law.