Governor Lalong Loses Appeal Against Sacked 271 Councillors

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Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has lost an appeal filed against 271 elected Councillors he sacked in July 2015, before the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos.

It would be recalled that the sacked Councillors, through their Counsel, Gyang Zi, had taken Governor Lalong, the State Attorney General and the State House of Assembly to Court for their removal from office.

They described their removal as “illegal and unconstitutional’’.

The case against the trio was filed before Justice David Mann of the State High Court III.

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But the Governor challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and its decision to take the Councillors’ preliminary objection along with the substantive case.

However, Lalong failed in the suit and quickly appealed against the ruling.

The appellants, through their Counsel, Victor Paul, had prayed the appellate Court to set aside the decision of the lower court.

Paul also sought an order that the preliminary objection of his clients should be heard first before the substantive suit.

But the appellate court, presided by Justices, A.G. Mshelia (lead Judge), A.H. Abiru and E.O. Williams, faulted the objection of the decision of the lower court by Lalong and others.

While upholding the decision of the lower court, the appellate court said “there is no problem with the lower court hearing both the substantive and the preliminary objection at the same time’’.

The judges said the appeal lacked merit and as such, dismissed it forthwith.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the judgement, Counsel to the Councillors, Gyang Zi said the decision was, “very satisfactory’’ as it has gone to show that there was hope for the common man.

Zi said, “We are happy that the appellate court saw reasons with the decision of the lower court and upheld it by dismissing the appeal of Governor Lalong”.

He maintained that his clients would go back to the High Court to continue in pursuance of their rights, having been wrongfully sacked by the state government.

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