July 21, 2024

Apex Court Declares States’ Control of Local Government Funds Unconstitutional

 

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has ordered governors of the country’s 36 states to henceforth steer clear of the funds meant for its 774 Local Government Areas. The apex court says the control of funds of the local government councils by the states is unconstitutional.

 

The court therefore orders that funds meant for the local government councils be paid to them directly from the federation account and not through the state governors.

 

In a landmark judgment delivered by a seven-member justice panel headed by Justice Lawal Garba, Nigeria’s apex court says the Constitution under Section 162 (4,5 and 6) doesn’t provide for the existence of a joint account for both the states and local government councils.

 

The lead judgment was prepared and read by Justice Emmanuel Agim.

 

The court holds that the provision of the constitution that funds meant for the local government councils be sent to the states is for them to act as agents of the federal government for the onward disbursement of same. It adds that the States are therefore not required to hold on to the money and use.

 

It holds that the states are exploiting the roles handed to them by the constitution by holding onto funds meant for local government councils. The court also laments this has been on for over two decades, crippling the effective functioning of the third tier of government.

 

The apex court therefore says the local government councils have the sole right to control their funds.

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