FG Sues State Govs, Seeks Full Autonomy For LGs

Lateef Fagbemi, Justice Minister

The Federal Government (FG), at the weekend, filed a suit hinged on 27 grounds, at the Supreme Court against the 36 State Governors of the Federation.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, filed by Lateef Fagbemi, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), FG is seeking full autonomy for the country’s 774 Local Governments.

The Federal Government is also asking for an order preventing the Governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils.

The FG, through Fagbemi, who is also the Minister of Justice, also requested the Supreme Court to authorise the direct transfer of funds from the federation account to local governments, in accordance with the constitution.

“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.

“That by the provisions of the constitution, there must be a democratically elected local government system and that the constitution has not made provisions for any other systems of governance at the local government level other than democratically elected local government system.

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“That in the face of the clear provisions of the constitution, the governors have failed and refused to put in place a democratically elected local government system even where no state of emergency has been declared to warrant the suspension of democratic institutions in the state.

“That the failure of the governors to put democratically elected local government system in place is a deliberate subversion of the 1999 Constitution which they and the President have sworn to uphold.

“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 originating summons read.

The federal government asked the apex 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.

The Supreme Court however fixed Thursday, May 30 for hearing of the suit.