Supreme Court Orders FG To Pay Allocations Directly To Local Govt. Areas


The Supreme Court on Thursday, July 11, 2024, ruled that the Federal Government should henceforth pay allocations from the Federation Allocation Account directly to the 774 Local Government Councils in the country.

In a landmark judgement delivered on the suit instituted by the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, a seven-member panel of Justices of the apex Court held that State Governments have continued to abuse their powers by retaining and using the funds meant for Local Government Areas (LGAs).

In its lead judgement read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court noted that the refusal of state government on financial autonomy for Local Governments has gone on for over two decades, adding that the Local Government Areas have since stopped receiving the money meant for them from the State Governors who act in their stead.

The apex Court held that the 774 Local Government Councils in the country should manage their funds themselves.

Justice Agim therefore dismissed the preliminary objections of the defendants (state governors).

In the suit instituted in May, this year, against the governors of the 36 States marked SC/CV/343/2024, the federal government prayed the Supreme Court for full autonomy for the 774 Local Government Councils.

The FG also prayed the Supreme Court to authorise the direct transfer of funds from the federation account to Local Governments in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

The Federal Government also prayed for an order preventing the governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils.

The Federal Government hinged the suit on 27 grounds that included; “That the constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognized tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the federation account created by the constitution,” the originating summons had read.

“That all efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system, has not yielded any result and that to continue to disburse funds from the federation account to governors for non-existing democratically elected local governments is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 constitution”.

The AGF also urged the Supreme Court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the constitution to declare that the Governors and State Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure democratically elected systems at the third tier of government.

The Supreme Court consequently directed that Local Government allocation from the Federation Account should be paid directly to them henceforth.

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