Supreme Court Orders Financial Autonomy For LGAs, Uphold Direct Allocations To 774 Councils

Supreme Court

News Investigators/ The Supreme Court has ordered that the federal allocations to the 774 Local Government Council Areas should henceforth be paid directly to the third tiers of government. 

The Apex Court, in a landmark judgement on Thursday, held that State Governments have continued to abuse their powers by retaining and using the funds meant for Local Government Areas (LGAs).

The Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had instituted a suit against the 36 States, at the Supreme Court to push for financial autonomy for the LGAs in the country.

In its lead judgement read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the 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 consisting of a seven-member panel of Justices of the ruled 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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here