FG Drags 36 State Govs To Supreme Court, Seeks Full Autonomy For LGs

The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken a bold legal step by dragging the 36 state governors before the Supreme Court, accusing them of misconduct in the administration of local governments and seeking full autonomy for the third tier of government.

 PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), initiated the court action on behalf of the federal government. 

The suit, marked SC/CV/343/2024, primarily aims to ensure that local governments operate autonomously, free from undue interference by state governors. 

The AGF is seeking several orders from the Apex Court to enforce these changes.

The federal government’s suit raises serious allegations against the state governors, including the unilateral and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government councils. 

The AGF argues that such actions violate the Nigerian Constitution, which mandates a democratically elected local government system. 

He added that the practice of appointing caretaker committees by governors to manage local government affairs is another focal point of the lawsuit.

In the originating summons, the AGF emphasizes that the Constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, state, and local governments as three distinct tiers of government, each with its own responsibilities and financial allocations from the Federation Account. 

The AGF contends that the governors’ actions undermine this constitutional framework, particularly the provisions that guarantee democratic governance at the local level.

The federal government is requesting several specific orders from the Supreme Court:

Prohibition of Unlawful Dissolutions, the government seeks  an order preventing state governors from unilaterally dissolving democratically elected local government councils.

On direct funding, the government seeks an order allowing funds from the Federation Account to be directly channeled to local governments, bypassing the joint accounts often controlled by state governors.

On Injunction Against Caretaker Committees, the governor seeks  an order stopping governors from appointing caretaker committees to manage local government affairs.

On restrictions on Fund Usage, the Federal government seeks an injunction restraining governors from receiving or spending funds allocated to local governments when no democratically elected local government system is in place.

PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the suit is grounded in 27 specific grounds that highlight the constitutional breaches and the implications of the governors’ actions on the democratic process. 

The AGF invokes several sections of the Constitution, including Sections 1, 4, 5, 7, and 14, to support the arguments for mandatory democratic governance at the local level.

In support of the suit, a 13-paragraph affidavit was filed, citing multiple publications and reports that document the ongoing issues with local government administration. These include reports from Daily Post, Vanguard, Guardian, Premium Times, and Arise News, which highlight the national importance and public interest in resolving these issues.

The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, May 30, to address this significant constitutional matter.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the  outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for the structure and functioning of local governments across Nigeria, potentially leading to greater autonomy and more effective grassroots governance.

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