By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos—Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has lost an appeal filed against the 271 elected councillors he sacked in July 2015 before the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos.
The sacked councillors, through their counsel, Mr. Gyang Zi, had sued Lalong, the state’s Attorney General and House of Assembly for their removal from office, describing it as “illegal and unconstitutional.”
They filed the case before Justice David Mann of State High Court III. But the Governor challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and its decision to take the councillors’ preliminary objection along with the substantive case.
Lalong failed in the suit and quickly appealed against the ruling. The appellants, through their counsel, Mr. Victor Paul, prayed the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court.
Paul also sought an order that the preliminary objection of his clients be heard first before the substantive suit.
However, the appellate court, presided by Justices A. G. Mshelia, Lead Judge; A. H. Abiru and E. O. Williams, faulted the objection to the decision of the lower court by Lalong and others.
While upholding the decision of the lower court, the appellate court said: “There is no problem with the lower court hearing both the substantive and the preliminary objection at the same time,’’ and the judges said the appeal lacked merit and, as such, dismissed it.