• Saturday, July 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

It is unconstitutional for governors to hold LG funds, Supreme Court rules

businessday-icon

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ruled in favour of local government financial autonomy, declaring it unconstitutional for state governors to withhold funds allocated to them.

The landmark decision, delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim on Thursday, addressed a decades-long dispute over financial control.

Agim pointed out that state governors have been acting as gatekeepers for local government funds, hindering their ability to function effectively.

The court emphasised the right of all 774 local governments in Nigeria to manage their own finances directly.

This decision dismisses objections raised by state governors who previously held control over these funds.

The lawsuit, initiated by the attorney-general of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, sought not only financial autonomy but also protection for democratically elected local councils from arbitrary dissolution by governors.

The court recognised the AGF’s legal standing to protect the constitution and upheld the right of local governments to self-governance.

As a result of this ruling, local government allocations from the national treasury will now be directly disbursed to the individual councils, empowering them with greater financial independence.