Laleye Dipo in Minna
The removal of the Chairman of Suleja Local Government in Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Kassim, by the legislative arm of the council has been declared illegal, null and void and of no effect by a Niger State High Court which sat in the town.
The court in its judgment delivered by Justice Ahmed BimaÂ on WednesdayÂ therefore directed Kassim’s reinstatement and also ordered that all his entitlement for the period he was illegally out of office should be paid to him.
Justice Bima in the judgment said the petitioner was not given fair hearing before he was removed from office, neither was he made to personally testify nor was a legal representation allowed for him during the investigation carried out by the legislative council.
He said: “The plaintiff has proved his case and he shall be entitled to judgment. Judgment is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff against the defendants.
“The removal of the applicant from office by the 1st respondent (legislative council) without giving him opportunity to defend himself in person or by a legal practitioner is null and void.”
Justice Bima therefore ordered the incumbent chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Maje, to vacate the office forthwith while Kassim’s rights and privileges should be restored.
“I hereby order that the plaintiff be reinstated together with the rights and privileges of the said office,” the judge declared.
Kassim had approached the court to seek redress following his suspension in November 2016 and subsequent impeachment in January 2017 by the Legislative Council over alleged gross misconduct and abuse of office.