FG Seeks Full Local Govts Autonomy, Sues 36 Governors

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The Federal Government has taken legal action against the 36 state governors at the Supreme Court over alleged maladministration of the Local Governments in the country.

In a suit filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, the federal government is demanding full autonomy for all local governments, and an order to restrain the state governors from unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government executives.

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The suit is also seeking for an order to allow the local governments get their shares directly from the federation account in line with the provisions of the constitution as against the current practice of joint accounts being operated by the governors.

It prayed the Supreme Court to stop the governors from constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the constitutionally recognized and guaranteed democratic system.

Part of the suit read: “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.

“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 government is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 constitution.

“That in the face of the violations of the 1999 constitution, the federal government is not obligated under section 162 of the constitution to pay any state, funds standing to the credit of local governments where no democratically elected local government is in place,” it read.

Following the suit, the Supreme Court has fixed May 30 for hearing.

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