By Oluwaseyi Ajibade

The Supreme Court says it is unconstitutional for state governors to hold on to funds meant for local governments.

The presiding Judge, Justice Emmanuel Agim, said the refusal of state governments to adhere to financial autonomy for local governments has gone on for over two decades.

He said local governments have since stopped receiving monies meant for them from the state governors, who act in their stead.

Consequently, the Apex Court dismissed the preliminary objections of the state governors.

In a suit filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, the Federal Government had sought an order preventing the governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils.

Justice Agim ruled that the AGF has the right to institute the suit and protect the constitution.

As a consequence, the court directed that Local Government allocation from the Federation Account should be paid directly to them henceforth.

In May 2022, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, delivered a judgment in favour of the federal government and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit on local government joint accounts nationwide.

Edited by Tony Okerafor

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