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Supreme Court grants LG financial autonomy 

todayJuly 11, 2024 8

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The Supreme Court declared on Thursday that it is unconstitutional for state governors to hold funds allocated for local government administrations.

The seven-man panel, in the judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, declared that the 774 local government councils in the country should manage their funds themselves.

The apex court held that the power of the government is portioned into three arms of government, the federal, the state and the local government.

The court further declared that a state government has no power to appoint a caretaker committee and a local government council is only recognisable with a democratically elected government.

“A democratically elected local government is sacrosanct and non-negotiable,” the court said.

The judgment held that the use of a caretaker committee amounts to the state government taking control of the local government and is in violation of the 1999 Constitution.

The court ruled that state governments are perpetuating a dangerous trend by refusing to allow democratically elected local government councils to function, instead appointing their loyalists who can only be removed by them

The court stated that it is the local government that should receive and manage funds meant for local government.

Justice Agim declared, “I hold that the state’s retention of the local government funds is unconstitutional.

“Demands of justice requires a progressive interpretation of the law. It is the position of this court that the federation can pay LG allocations to the LGs directly or pay them through the states.

“In this case, since paying them through states has not worked, justice of this case demands that LG allocations from the federation account should henceforth be paid directly to the LGs.”

The judgment held that the local government council funds must be paid to only democratically elected local government councils stating that “anything other than this will be taken as a gross misconduct.”

“A declaration that the state government has no power or control to keep the local government council money or funds.

Written by: EaglesFM

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