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Monday, July 15, 2024

JUST IN: Supreme Court grants local Govts financial autonomy

After several years of legal arguments, the Supreme Court has granted Local Governments absolute financial autonomy, dismissing State Governors appeal to manage their funds on the councils behalf.

The apex court declared that it is unconstitutional for state governors to hold funds allocated to Local Government administrations, saying councils should be allowed to manage their funds.

In its lead judgement on Thursday read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court said the 774 local government councils in the country should manage their funds themselves.

It maintained that the act which has gone on for over two decades, was a clear violation of Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

the apex court held that no House of Assembly of any state has the power to make laws that could, in any manner, interfere with monies meant for the LGAs.

Stressing that the law mandated that LGAs must be governed by democratically elected officials, the Supreme Court ordered that forthwith, funds meant for the LGAs must be directly paid to them from the federation account.

“Demands of justice require a progressive interpretation of the law. It is the position of this court that the federation can pay LGA allocations to the LGAs directly or pay them through the states.

“In this case, since paying them through states has not worked, justice of this case demands that LGA allocations from the federation account should henceforth be paid directly to the LGAs,” the apex court held.

It further declared unconstitutional the appointment of caretaker committees by governors to run the affairs of the LGAs.

It held that the 36 states are under obligation to ensure democratic governance at the third tier of government.

The judgement followed a suit the Federal Government filed to secure financial autonomy for the LGAs.

Earlier, the court dismissed preliminary objections the state governors filed to challenge the competence of the suit.

More details soon

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