Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Niger Appeals Ruling to Pay Four Councillors N28 Million

Niger State government has appealed the judgement of a Minna High Court that ordered the government to pay four councillors from Shiroro Local Government Area of the state, the benefits and entitlements of their office after being reinstated by an election tribunal.

The state ministry of Justice has filed notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja. The councillors were Hon. Yakubu Gomna, Sule Bakare, James Dauda and Umar Adamu .

The four All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) councillors had approached the Minna High Court seeking the payment of their benefits in office for three years for which they claimed was their entitlement as counscillors after they were returned elected in the 2010 local government elections in the state by the Niger State Election Petition Appeal Tribunal two years after.

Before they were returned by the tribunal, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates had hitherto occupied the office for the two years.

Consequently the councillors went to a Minna High court demanding for the payment of N28 million as the accumulated benefits in which, Justice Maria Sanda Zukogi held last April 17 that the councillors were entitled to the benefits and entitlements of the office for the three years they were constitutionally allowed to serve.

However, the Niger State government in the notice of appeal filed by Usman Baba Esq, an Assistant Chief State Counsel of the Niger State ministry of Justice, prayed the Appeal Court to set aside the judgement of the lower court on grounds that the trial judge erred in law when she ordered that the respondents were entitled to serve for three years and were to be paid the benefits of their office as councillors.

The government therefore argued that the respondents as members of the local government legislative council were only entitled to complete the three years tenure commencing from the date the original oath of membership was subscribed by their predecessors and not to be paid the backlog.

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