By Usman Aliyu
Ilorin – Vice-chairmen and councilors in the 16 local governments of Kwara have described their suspension from office by the state government as illegal.
The vice-chairmen and councilors stated this at a news briefing in Ilorin on Monday.
Hon Yusuf Salihu Mohammed, Vice-chairman of Ilorin West Local Government, who addressed the press on behalf of others, said the six-month suspension was unknown to the Nigerian Constitution and Kwara Local Government Law.
“It is clear that the suspension slammed on the local lgvernment councils, particularly, that of the legislative arms is not just unlawful but is, indeed, and arbitrary exercise of executive power.
“All the Councilors in Kwara State rejected the suspension but resolved to remain at home in order to give peace a chance in the state,” he said.
According to him, all councilors staged a peaceful protest to the State House of Assembly and Government House to express their displeasure over the illegal suspension and pleaded for lifting of the suspension order.
Mohammed, however, lamented that all entreaties made to persuade the government to rescind the suspension order were “tactically blocked.”
He declared that both the vice chairmen and councilors were not incriminated in the investigations conducted by the state government.
Mohammed said: “For the past six months, investigations being carried out by the government on the Local Government Councils only found the 16 Council Chairmen wanting.
“Nothing was found against the Honourable Speakers that were invited.
“The Vice Chairmen and other Councilors were not invited for questioning, yet they were left on suspension.
“We know, and we know that Government knows too, that the vice chairmen and councilors did not perpetrate any fraud in the councils.
“Why are we then preventing elected officers from doing their jobs and from collecting their entitlements? ”
He said all the suspended vice chairmen and councilors were placed on half salaries during the first six months of their suspension, adding that with the extension of the suspension order, their salaries had been stopped.
Mohammed appealed to traditional rulers, religious leaders and eminent personalities to prevail on Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to stop the pains inflicted on the suspended elected local government officials.