The Federal Government has filed a lawsuit against the governors of the 36 states of the federation at the Supreme Court, alleging misconduct in administrating Local Government Areas. The suit, initiated by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, seeks to enforce full autonomy for all local government areas in Nigeria.

In the suit, the Federal Government requests that the Supreme Court prohibit state governors from unilaterally and arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected local government leaders. The governors were named in the lawsuit through their respective Attorneys General.

The Federal Government’s legal action also seeks an order directing that funds allocated to local governments be directly transferred to them from the federation account in accordance with constitutional provisions. This move aims to eliminate the alleged unlawful joint accounts currently managed by state governors.

The suit also calls for an order preventing governors from forming caretaker committees to administer local governments, advocating for constitutionally mandated democratic systems. The Federal Government further requests an injunction to stop governors and their agents from accessing, spending, or interfering with funds meant for local governments unless a democratically elected local government system is in place.

In support of its case, the Federal Government presented 27 grounds, arguing that Nigeria’s federal system, established by the 1999 Constitution, recognizes federal, state, and local governments as three distinct tiers of government, each entitled to funds from the federation account.

The Federal Government emphasized that the constitution mandates a democratically elected local government system and does not allow for any other form of governance at the local level. The suit contends that governors’ failure to establish such systems constitutes a deliberate subversion of the Constitution.

The government further argued that the continued disbursement of funds from the federation account to states without democratically elected local governments undermines the constitution’s integrity. The Federal Government asserted that it is not obligated to distribute these funds under Section 162 of the constitution if no democratically elected local government exists.

The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for May 30 to address the Federal Government’s claims and determine the next steps in this significant legal battle.