BREAKING: Supreme Court orders FG to pay LG allocation directly to councils

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has given a landmark judgment ordering the Federal Government of Nigeria to henceforth pay Local Government Councils allocation directly to them.

The Supreme Court  in a unanimous judgement of a seven-panel member delivered the judgment on Thursday morning. The judgement was delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim.

The court held that state governments have continued to abuse their powers by retaining and using the funds meant for LGAs.
It also declared that it is unconstitutional for state governors to hold on to funds meant for Local Government administrations adding that the refusal of state government on financial autonomy for local governments has gone on for over two decades.
It held that, local governments have since stopped receiving the money meant for them from the state governors who act in their stead.
Justice Agim noted that the 774 local government councils in the country should be allowed to manage their funds themselves and dismissed the preliminary objections of the state governors.
In the suit filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the Federal Government sought an order preventing the governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils or tempering with the funds of the local governments
Justice Agim, who held that, the AGF has the right to institute the suit and protect the constitution,  barred the state governors from receiving, tampering or withhold funds meant for the local governments.
The governors were also barred from henceforth dissolving democratically elected officials for local governments and that doing so would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution.
The states, in separate preliminary objections they filed before the apex court, sought the dismissal of the suit with substantial cost.
They contended that the AGF, who initiated the action on behalf of the Federal Government, lacked the locus standi (legal right) to do so and further alleged that the AGF breached their right to fair hearing when he failed to serve them with a copy of a further affidavit he filed in support of the suit.
Besides, some of the states argued that they have a democratically elected local government officials in place and insisted that the suit by the  FG amounted to an abuse of the judicial process.

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