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Nigeria’s Supreme Court Reserves Judgment On LG Autonomy Suit

1 month ago
1 min read

Supreme Court of Nigeria has reserved judgment in a suit filed by the Federal Government, seeking to secure full autonomy for local government areas in the country.

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, filed the suit on behalf of the Federal Government against the 36 states.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the Federal Government is seeking a ruling of the Supreme Court that grants full autonomy for all the local government areas in the country as the third tier of government.

Part of the relief sought by the AGF, is an injunction of the court to prohibit state governors from removing democratically elected local government leaders in a unilateral or illegal manner.

Additionally, the plaintiff seeks an order, to allow the funds that local governments have in their credit to be sent directly from the Federation Account to them in accordance with the Constitution’s requirements, rather than through allegedly illegal joint accounts that governors have opened.

Also, the Federal Government asked the Supreme Court to give an order, restraining governors from appointing Caretaker Committees, to manage local government affairs in violation of the democratic system that is protected by the Constitution.

In the event that a state does not implement a democratically elected local government system, it also applied for an order of injunction, prohibiting the governors, their representatives, and privies from accepting, using, or interfering with money released from the Federation Account for the benefit of local governments.

Attorneys General of the 36 states are representing their governors in the suit.

The action was to address the manner the state governors are running local governments’ funds.

A seven-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, reserved judgment in the suit on Thursday, after lawyers to parties adopted their final addresses and made final submissions.

Justice Garba said a date for the judgment will be communicated to parties and their counsel.

For decades, there have been debates about the level of autonomy that local governments areas should enjoy.

A report by Prime Business Africa, recently showed that 18 out of 36 states in Nigeria do not have elected local government chairmen and councillors. The state governors instead, appointed caretakers against the provision of section 7 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulates that local governments should be run by elected officials.

READ ALSO: Anarchy: 18 State Governors Won’t Allow Elections For Local Govt Chairmen, Councillors


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