By Ozioruva Aliu
AN Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City yesterday nullified the removal of the chairman of Esan West local government area, Patrick Aguinede.
In his ruling yesterday in suit No B/11/2020, Justice Daniel Okungbowa declared the removal of Aguinede by Edo State Governor as null and void and directed Aguinede to resume office as Chairman of the Council immediately.
Justice Okungbowa granted all the prayers contained in the originating Summons filed on behalf of Aguinede by the Law firm of West-Idahosa & Co holding that Edo State Governor and the Government failed to comply with the Provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of Edo State Local Government Law, 2000 (as amended) in failing to consult with the Edo State House of Assembly and the grounds of suspension as provided by Law before suspending Hon. Patrick Aguinede was not followed.
The Court further held that since the purported suspension was void in law, every other action predicated on it was invalid. And held that the 1st-4th defendants abandon their notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the ground of filling it in High court instead of in the National industrial court after counsel to the claimant joined issues with them and even draw their attention to it at the point of hearing the case but they opted to abandon it.
The Court awarded the sum of N200,000 as costs in favour of Hon. Patrick Aguinede.
Aguinede was suspended from office in October 2019 over allegation of corruption.
The then Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Mr. Monday Osaigbovo, said Aguinede was suspended for a period of two months to allow investigation into allegations made against him.
He said one of the allegations was that an estate agent petitioned Aguinede that he bought a house for him for N30m and Aguinede refused to pay his agency fees.
Osaigbovo said Aguinede was alleged not to have remitted complete money collected as Internally Generated Revenue.