Supreme Court reserves judgement on FG’s suit against 36 governors over LG autonomy

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The Supreme Court, yesterday, reserved its judgment on the suit the Federal Government filed to secure full autonomy for the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.

A seven-man panel of the court, led by Justice Garba Lawal okayed the matter for judgment, after governors of the 36 states of the Federation, through their respective Attorney-Generals, adopted their briefs of argument.

The states, in separate preliminary objections, sought the dismissal of the suit with substantial cost.

They contended that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who initiated the action on behalf of FG, lacked the locus standi (legal right) to do so.

The defendants further alleged that the AGF breached their rights to a fair hearing when he failed to serve them with a copy of a further affidavit he filed in support of the suit.

Some of the states argued that they already have democratically elected LG officials in place, insisting that the suit by FG amounted to an abuse of the judicial process.

After listening to parties, the Justice Lawal-led panel said it would communicate the judgement date to them.
FG had in the suit marked, prayed the Supreme Court to okay full autonomy for all the LGAs in the country as the third tier of government.

It prayed the court to issue an order, prohibiting state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leaders.

As well as for an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account in line with the provisions of the Constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.


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