Court To Hear Suit On Benue LG Polls June 27

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Court To Hear Suit On Benue LG Polls June 27
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A High Court in Benue State has scheduled June 27 for the hearing of a suit concerning the upcoming local government (LG) elections in the state.

The suit aims to compel the Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) to hold LG elections before the current chairpersons’ term expires.

Recall that the BSIEC has set July 6 as the date for the elections, which is a week after the tenures of the current chairpersons end on June 29. Currently, the chairpersons of the 23 local governments are under suspension.

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The Benue House of Assembly approved the suspension of the LG chairs in June 2023, following allegations of financial misappropriation made by the state’s governor, Hyacinth Alia.

During court proceedings on Thursday, Judge J. M. Shishi declined a request for an accelerated hearing from Sesugh Akume, a businessman, and instead fixed June 27 for the substantive suit.

Akume seeks a court order to compel BSIEC to conduct the elections promptly to prevent a governance vacuum at the local level.

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Additionally, no date has been set for another suit filed by Akume, challenging the suspension of the LG chairmen.

Akume stated that court officials informed him the courtroom is being used by a commission of inquiry, resulting in all cases before that court being placed on hold indefinitely.

“The officials stated that the court could not sit on the last adjourned date, May 8 (set at the court’s last sitting on March 26), due to ongoing renovations,” Akume said in a statement.

In his suit, Akume calls for the court to disband what he describes as illegal and unconstitutional caretaker committees, and to nullify and remove from the Local Government Law any provisions that allow for the suspension of elected local government councils or the appointment of unelected councils.

He asserts that such provisions are outdated and have been invalidated by the Supreme Court, arguing that the dismissal of elected local government councils constitutes a coup d’etat.

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