The Court of Appeal, Benin Division, on Tuesday, set aside the dissolution of the Edo State Law Review Commission for the past 13 years over failure to follow due process.
The commission was dissolved in 2008 by the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
In a unanimous judgment, the court ordered that the commission’s members be reinstated and be allowed to complete their tenure, which should now run from March 25, 2021, to August 25, 2025.
In the judgment delivered by a three-person panel and read by Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill, with justices Oyebisi Omoleye and Fredrick Oho as members, the appellate court held that Mr Oshiomhole’s government did not follow the laid-down procedure in dissolving the commission.
In the suit (No B/375/OS/2009), the appellants were Jonathan Aghimien (SAN), T. E. Ogbeide-Ihama, and Edward Aigbanbe, while the Edo governor, the attorney general, and the House of Assembly were the respondents.
The appellants challenged the ruling of Justice Nogi Aifuwa Imoukhuede of the state’s high court, which dismissed the appellants’ claims for being statute-barred.
In his ruling, Mr Georgewill declared that “the dissolution of the Edo State Law Review Commission and consequent termination of the appointments of the Appellants on 24/11/2008, without due compliance with the provisions of the Revised Edition Law of Edo state 2001, by the 1st Respondent, the then Executive Governor of Edo state is null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”
The court set aside the letter issued by the then-Secretary to State Government on behalf of the governor, saying it was issued without compliance with the Revised Edition Law of Edo State 2001.
He said, “An order is hereby given reinstating the appellants to their aforesaid position as Chairman and members of the Edo State Law Review Commission to serve out the remainder of their five-year tenure.”
He added, “Thereafter from the date of this judgment being 25/3/2021 to 25/8/2025 totalling five years in line with Section 7 (1) of the Revised Edition Law 2001 of Edo state, excluding the period from 24/11/2008 to 25/3/2021, unless the appellants are removed in line with the provision of the Revised Edition law of Edo State of Nigeria 2001.”