The Benue State Government says the dissolution of the state local government councils was not done unilaterally as it was based on the order of the state House of Assembly, which has powers to legislate over their affairs.
Sir Tersoo Kula, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Hyacinth Alia, said this when he addressed a news conference on Sunday in Makurdi.
Mr Kula said that contrary to the assumption that Governor Alia unilaterally dissolved the elected local councils, it was the lawmakers who ordered their dissolution after uncovering large scale fraud in their operations.
The Peoples Democratic Party, (Benue), Senator Abba Moro, tabled the issue at the National Assembly, accusing the Alia- led administration of illegally dissolving the elected councils and replacing them with caretaker committees.
But, Mr Kula accompanied by Mr Dennis Akura, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said that the senator distorted facts and misled the Senate on the status of the local government councils in the state.
“Alia did not dissolve the democratically elected local government leadership in the state. The Benue State House of Assembly vested with the constitutional powers to legislate over their affairs did. The Assembly did this in exercise of their constitutional responsibility as enshrined in sections 7 and 8 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“Alia only appointed caretaker committees to avoid lacunas that would have been created following recommendations of the state House of Assembly which investigated, indicted and sacked the 23 elected council chairmen.
“They were found to have perpetrated monumental fraud in their councils in active connivance with various councillors,” he said.
He added, “We are also worried that of all people, it is Senator Abba Moro, a former Sole Administrator and a former caretaker committee chairman of Okpokwu LG under the same 1999 constitution of the FRN as amended that had the brazen counterfeit boldness to speak of erosion of democracy.”
The Senate had, based on Moro’s motion, urged the Federal Government to withhold federal allocations for the state 23 LGs until the elected local government councils were restored.