Hoteliers and Beer Parlours Proprietors Association, HBPPA, has dragged the Sabon Gari Government Local Area, Zaria, Kaduna State to court over a proposed bill to outlaw beer consumption or sales in the area.
Sabon Gari is a settlement area for non-indigenes.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Solomon Kaine, had on June 11,2020, applied and obtained a court order of the High Court sitting in Zaria restraining the LGA from passing the bill to outlaw the sale and consumption of the alcohol.
However, the court presided over by Justice Kabir Sabo, fixed June 23, 2020 for substantive hearing the application, but the hearing was stalled as the court couldn't sit over the case.
In an interview with reporters Tuesday over the case, Kaine said the hoteliers dragged the Zaria Local Government to court because it had no powers to outlaw the sale and consumption of alcohol in the area.
He said, "we took the Sabon Gari Local government Area to Court because it has power to regulate but it does not have power to stop sale and consumption of alcohol.
"So we want the court to stop the local government from harassing the hoteliers and as well stop enacting such law."
Tension rose in the Zaria area of the state in October 2019, during the hearing of the proposed bill to outlaw the consumption of beer in the area at the local government Secretariat.
The local government had in a letter dated October 21, 2019, invited hotel owners and liquor sellers for the public hearing.
The hotel proprietors had through their Counsel, Mr. Daniel Peter, noted that Local Governments in Nigeria had the powers to license, regulate and control the sales of liquor, but had no powers to prohibit the sales of liquor as well as do not have legislative power to prohibit consumption of beer.
He noted that sections 5 and 6 of the said bill clearly prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol which was outside the legislative powers of local governments.
He further argued that the said sections were clearly stated in the fourth schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and “therefore ultra vires and not within the legislative competence of LGs.”
Instead, the hoteliers had recommended that "the proposed Bill should, in fact, be on licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor as stated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and not to prohibit sale and consumption of alcohol."