Supreme Court Reserves Judgment on FG’s Local Government Autonomy Suit

The Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on the federal government’s suit seeking full autonomy for local governments across Nigeria.

Presiding Judge Justice Garba Lawal announced the decision following the adoption of legal processes by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, on behalf of the federal government, and representatives of the 36 state governors. Justice Lawal informed the parties that they would be notified once the judgment is ready.

At the hearing on Thursday, the AGF requested that the court approve all the federal government’s demands in the case. The state governors, represented by their Attorneys General and Commissioners for Justice, opposed these requests and urged the court to dismiss the case.

Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed the lawsuit on behalf of the federal government. The primary objective of the suit is to secure complete independence for local governments, ensuring they function as an autonomous tier of government.

The AGF’s petition asks the Supreme Court to prevent state governors from unlawfully removing democratically elected local government leaders, among other measures. This follows a judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on May 23, 2024, which ruled in favor of the federal government and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) regarding local government joint accounts nationwide.

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