A Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere on Monday declined further jurisdiction in a suit filed by the National Conscience Party (NCP) challenging the appointment of Executive Secretaries to manage the affairs of the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the State.
Trial judge, Justice Abdulfatal Lawal had fixed the matter for hearing of the applications for stay of execution of the earlier judgment delivered by the court on October 23, 2015, but elected to decline further jurisdiction after confirming that the records of proceedings have been transmitted to the Court of Appeal.
In the said judgment, Justice Lawal had declared the appointment of caretaker committees over the administration of Local Government councils in Lagos State as illegal and unconstitutional, and ordered the State’s Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to conduct election within 30 days.
Dissatisfied, Lagos State filed Notice of Appeal against the judgement and prayed the court to stay execution of the judgement pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
At the resumed hearing, a counsel representing the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, informed the court that the records of appeal had been transmitted to the Appeal Court thereby ousting the jurisdiction of the High Court to continue with the matter in accordance with Order 4 Rule 10 and 11 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011.
The trial judge, who agreed with the argument, held that indeed his court had become functus officio of the matter, and subsequently declined jurisdiction.
The records of proceedings transmitted to the Court of Appeal were dated November 17, 2015.
According to the matter, the Lagos State Government and LAISEC are contending that unless the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave voters register to LAISEC, election cannot be conducted in the State.
They argued further that the delay in the conduct of elections into Local Government could not be blamed on the Lagos State government, and thereby urged the court to dismiss the case.
The Court of Appeal is yet to give date for hearing of the appeal.