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BREAKING: Supreme Court orders FG to pay allocations directly to LGAs

In May, the Federal Government filed a suit against governors of the 36 states, seeking full autonomy for LGAs.

The Supreme Court of Nigeria (Business Day)

In a judgement delivered on Thursday, July 11, 2024, a seven-member panel of justices ruled that state governments abuse their powers by retaining and using LGA funds.

Recall that in May, the Federal Government filed a suit against governors of the 36 states over alleged abuse and misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas.

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In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024 and filed on behalf of the government by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, the FG sought recognition of LGAs as an autonomous third tier of government in the country.

Fagbemi prayed the court to issue an order prohibiting state governors from arbitrary, unilateral, and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected LG administrators.

The suit, which is predicated on 27 grounds, also sought an order to allow LG funds to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account in line with the provisions of the Constitution as against the unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

The AGF also contended in the suit that Nigeria as a federation is a creation of the 1999 Constitution with the President as the head of the Federal Executive arm, and has sworn to uphold and effect the provisions of the grundnorm.

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The FG also prayed the Supreme Court for an order prohibiting governors from further constituting Caretaker Committees to run local government affairs as against the constitutionally recognised and guaranteed system.

The suit equally sought an injunction restraining the governors, their agents, and privies from receiving, spending, or tampering with funds released to LGs from the Federation Account.

The minister, in a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to by one Kelechi Ohaeri from the Federal Ministry of Justice, sued the 36 governors through their respective state attorney generals.

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