On Thursday, the Supreme Court made a significant ruling that says state governors must directly pay allocations to local government councils from the federation account. Justice Emmanuel Agim, in his decision, pointed out that state governments have been denying financial autonomy to local governments for more than twenty years. He emphasized that the 774 local government councils in the country should handle their own finances.

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The federal government, represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, filed a case identified as SC/CV/343/2024. They sought a court order to prevent governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils.

Additionally, the federal government requested complete financial independence for all 774 local governments across the country. The originating summons stated: “The Nigerian constitution acknowledges federal, state, and local governments as the three tiers of government. These three tiers draw funds for their operations and functions from the federation account established by the constitution.

“Efforts to compel governors to adhere to the 1999 Constitution, particularly in establishing a democratically elected local government system, have been unsuccessful. Continuing to allocate federation account funds to governors for non-existent democratically elected local governments undermines the sanctity of the 1999 Constitution.”

Justice Agim, while delivering the Supreme Court’s judgment, affirmed that the AGF has the authority to file the suit to uphold the constitution. As a result, the judge directed that local government allocations from the federation account be paid directly to the local councils.