INTRODUCTION TO THE IMO STATE AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY COUNCIL ADMINISTRATION LAW OF 2012 WITH ANNOTATIONS 2012, LAW NO. 1
A Law to provide for the establishment, Structure, composition, finance, functions and administration of Autonomous communities in the local Government Areas of Imo State.
BE IT ENACTED by the House of Assembly of Imo State of Nigeria as follows:
PART 1 – PRELIMINARIES
1.This law may be cited as the Imo State Autonomous Community Councils Administration Law No. 1 of 2012.
This section provides the citations by which the law is known. It was one of the laws made in the early life of the administration of Governor Anayo Okorocha. This Law is the fundamental enactment regulating the administration of community councils in the State and any act inconsistent with its provisions is to the extent of that inconsistency illegal, null and void.
- (1) In this Law:
“Central Town Union” means the General body of the various branches of a Town Union of a recognized Autonomous Community operating with the community as its headquarters:
“Civil service commission” means the Imo State Civil Service Commission:
“Community” means Community as defined in Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law. No. 6 2006 (as amended):
“Community Council” means the Community Governing Council created under this law for each of the Autonomous Communities in the Local Government Areas of Imo State with the powers as Stipulated herein:
“Community Liaison Officer (CLO)” means the member appointed by the Governor as member of the Community Council,
“Constitution of Town Union” means the agreed rules usages and regulations guiding the conduct of a Town Union whether written or unwritten:
“Eze” means recognized Eze under the Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law, 2006 (as amended):
“Law No. 15, of 2000” means Imo State Local Government Administration Law, No.15 of 2000 (as amended):
“Law No. 6, 2006” means Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law, 2006 (as amended)
“Local Government” mean the 27 Local government Areas of Imo State of Nigeria:
“Local Government Service Commission” means the Local government Service Commission of Imo State established under Law No. 15 of 2000:
“Minimum Qualification” means schooling up to school Certificate:
“Secretary” means the person elected as the head of Men Wing of the Town union under this law:
“State” means Imo State of Nigeria;
“Woman Leader” means the person elected as the head of the Woman wing of Town Union under this Law:
“Youth Leader” means the person elected as leader of the youths in the town Union under this Law:
2.(2) for the purpose of wider interest of indigenes of the various autonomous communities in the 27 Local Government Areas in the State any word used in this law and not interpreted above shall have the same meaning it has in Law No. 15 of 2000 (as amended).
This section provides for the interpretations to be accorded to words and phrases and or the context of their usages.
The importance of providing definitions for words and phrases is to provide clarity and understanding of the intentions of the legislature.
Thus the term “Eze” as used in the enactment refers to a recognized Eze subject to The Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law 2006 (as amended) .A person not recognized as an Eze by the government does not come within the context of its meaning.
“A secretary” means the person elected as the head of the men wing of the Town Union Under the law.
This enables the avoidance of doubt in the interpretation of particular words and phrases.
PART II – COMMUNITY GOVERNING COUNCIL
- (1)There is hereby established for each Autonomous Community in the 27 local Government Areas of the state a Community Governing Council.
(2) The headquarters/ Secretariat of each Autonomous Community mentioned in the first schedule, to this Law shall consist of an administrative block or building of not less than 10 rooms set out in column 3 thereof.
(3) The Chairman of the Community Council shall ordinarily reside within the autonomous community.
(4) Failure to comply with subsection 3 (C) above shall be deemed as misconduct.
(5) Every Autonomous Community shall be created in accordance with the provisions of law no. 6, 2000 (as amended)
(6) The Community Council Shall be a body Corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and can sue or be sued in its corporate name.
The insertion of S.3 (3) (4) is very remarkable. In the past, Autonomous Communities have been governed by absentee traditional rulers who reside in the urban Areas minding their businesses. Under the new dispensation, the traditional rulers are the Chairmen of the Community governing Councils. It is now misconduct for the chairman to reside outside his Autonomous Council. But the nature of sanction(s) for the misconduct is not stated.
S.3 (5) also indicates that every Autonomous Community Shall be created in accordance with the provisions of law No. 6 of 2000 (as amended) This proviso means that Autonomous Communities that fails to meet the requirements for their creation are illegal entitles and or invalid end cannot function, continue to function or be accorded continued recognition by the local and state governments.
Note further that Autonomous Communities Governing Councils can be held accountable for their acts and omissions in view of their recognition as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and can sue or be sued in its corporate name.
- (1) the Community Council shall have power to:-
(a) Enter into contracts;
(b) Accept gifts, grants, bequests and devices made to the Community if the condition attached by the person making it is not inconsistent with the objects of the community, her interests and functions of the council
(c) Charge fees for access to or use of its resources or services or facilities or chieftaincy title, and
(d) borrow money with the written approval of the finance and General purposes Committee of the local Government or the Governor:
(e) operate bank account(s).
Community Councils in the past have been embroiled in financial scandals including misappropriations of Community funds. Such financial scandals include unapproved loans at high interests from individuals in the Community.
However under the new regime are new procedures, the Community Council must adhere to: (1) Agree to borrow or seek a loan. (2) Obtain clearance or Approval from the Finance and general purpose Committee of the local government or the Governor. This ensures monitoring and that such loans are put to good uses.
The powers and functions of the Community Councils are spelt out with the attendant danger of the rule of statutory interpretation, expressiounius exclusio alterius which may be used to exclude functions and powers not conferred on the council by the law.
An interesting feature of this provision is that, a community can charge fees for the uses of its chieftaincy titles. This clearly indicates that the award of chieftaincy titles has been commercialized but subject in my view to the integrity of the awardees and further subject to community audit. The Eze can no longer pocket the proceeds for such awards and remains accountable.