LG Autonomy: Supreme Court Gives States Seven Days to File Defence

May 30, 2024
LG autonomy

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ordered the 36 State Governors to file their respective defence to a suit instituted against them by the federal government within a week.

Nigeria’s central government is seeking full autonomy for the 774 local governments in the country, according to a suit prohibiting state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leaders.

The court also ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Lateef Fagbemi, to file his reply within two days, after receipt of their defence.

Leading a seven-man panel, Justice Garba Lawal issued the order while ruling on an application for abridgement of the time argued by the AGF.

Justice Lawal said that the decision of the court was predicated on the national urgency of the suit and the non-objection from the Attorneys General of the states of the Federation.

The Supreme Court held that filing of all processes and exchanging of same must be completed within the time and subsequently fixed June 13 for the hearing of the suit.

Justice Lawal ordered that the eight states that were not in attendance at Thursday’s proceedings must be served with fresh hearing notice.

The states had 28 Attorneys General present while 8 were absent in court, despite being served with hearing notice. These include Borno, Kano, Kogi, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Sokoto.

In the 27 grounds it listed in support of the suit, the federal government argued that Nigeria, as a federation, was a creation of the 1999 Constitution as amended, with the president as head of the federal executive arm, swearing on oath to uphold and give effects to provisions of the constitution.

The FG suit is also asking for an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the federation account in line with the provisions of the constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

It also sought to stop governors from further constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the constitutionally recognized and guaranteed democratic system.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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