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JUST IN: Tinubu seeks LGs autonomy, drags 36 govs to Supreme Court




By Peters Monday, Abuja

The Federal Government has initiated legal proceedings against the 36 state governors at the Supreme Court, seeking to establish autonomy for local government areas (LGAs) and to address alleged interference by governors in the LGA administration.

The government’s petition seeks:

” A court order preventing governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected local government leaders.

“Direct funding of LGAs from the federation account, bypassing state governments.

“An end to the appointment of caretaker committees to manage LGAs, and a return to democratically elected systems.

“An injunction restraining governors from receiving or spending funds intended for LGAs when no democratically elected system is in place.

The government argues that the Constitution recognised LGAs as the third tier of government and that governors’ actions are inconsistent with this provision. The lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and named the 36 state governors as respondents through their respective Attorneys General.

“That the governors represent the component states of the Federation with Executive Governors who have also sworn to uphold the Constitution and to at all times, give effect to the Constitution and that the Constitution, being the supreme law, has binding force all over the Federation of Nigeria.

“That the Constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, state 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 the 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 the 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.”

However, the federal government prayed the Supreme Court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the constitution to declare that state governors and State Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure a democratic system at the third tier of government in Nigeria and to also invoke the same sections to hold that the governors cannot lawfully dissolve democratically elected local government councils.

It also prayed for the invocation of sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that dissolution of democratically elected local government councils by governors or anyone using the state powers derivable from laws enacted by the State Houses of Assembly or any Executive Order, was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.