By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
An Edo state High Court sitting in Benin City on Friday declared as illegal, the removal from office of Alhaji Aremiyau Aligamhe Momoh as Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo.
The court presided over by Justice Daniel Okungbowa, delivered the judgement in suit no: B/205/2019.
Momoh was removed from office by Governor Godwin Obaseki over alleged corrupt practices in September 2019.
But in his judgment, Okungbowa declared the action of the Governor as “null and void” and directed Momoh be reinstated to office immediately.
The Judge held that the state government failed to comply with the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of Edo State Local Government Law, 2000 (as amended) in failing to consult with the Edo State House of Assembly as provided by Law before suspending Momoh.
The Court further held that since the purported suspension was void in law, every other action predicated on it was invalid.
The Court awarded the sum of N250,000 as costs in favour of Momoh.
The Court dismissed the notice of preliminary objection filed by the state government challenging the competence of the suit.
The removal of Momoh was a fallout of a petition signed by 10 councillors in which they had levelled several allegations of fraud against him.
Some of the allegations were that the Momoh had claimed to have spent seven million naira on Sallah gifts as against two million naira that was spent and failure to remit N67m collected from trucks loading cement from a Cement Company in Okpella among others.
Reacting to the judgment, Momoh said: “To me, it is a victory for democracy and victory for the people of Etsako East and thank the Justice who stood without fear or favour to deliver the judgment, not of his interest.
“I am very happy about it I will go back and continue to deliver dividends of democracy to the people which I have been doing and I know that I was only victimised because of recent political activities in Edo state because even the governor many times applauded me.”
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