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LGs financial autonomy: S’Court ruling a step in the right direction — Atiku

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Former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has described the judgement of the Supreme Court which granted total financial autonomy to the local government councils in Nigeria, as a step in the right direction.

Atiku in a statement obtained by NewsBand Newspaper said that the decision by the federal government to consolidate disbursements of local councils’ revenues into the state government accounts was a decision that was borne out of politics of hasty compromise.

Mr Atiku, who said he aligns with the decision of the Supreme Court, noted that the local governments should be centres of development and not otherwise.

The statement reads, “The judgment of the Supreme Court earlier today affirming fiscal autonomy to local government councils in the country is a win for the people of Nigeria.

“The court’s ruling is a step in the right direction and a major corrective action in greasing the wheels of national development across the country.

“The decision by the Federal Government to consolidate disbursements of local councils’ revenues into the state government accounts was a decision that was borne out of politics of hasty compromise.

“I align with the decision of the Supreme Court that the structure of the Nigerian government is portioned in three layers, and of these, the local governments should be centres of development.”

Speaking further in the statement, Atiku said that fiscal autonomy to the local governments should not be limited to revenues from the Federation Accounts, but should also apply to Internally Generated Revenue from the respective local government authorities.

“I also share the belief that fiscal autonomy to the local governments should not be limited to revenues from the Federation Accounts, but indeed, should apply to Internally Generated Revenue from the respective local government authorities.

“Many of our states, especially those in the ultra urban areas with high density economic activities, have become notorious in muscling local councils from generating revenue on items that border on motor parks, outdoor advertising, rents and many more.

“The verdict of the court is in tandem with the core functions of the Supreme Court as an arbitration court between and among governments”, the statement concluded.

What The Supreme Court Said About LGs Autonomy

The Supreme Court on Thursday, declared that it is unconstitutional for state governors to hold onto funds meant for Local Government administrations.

The apex court in it lead judgement read by Justice Emmanuel Agim ruled that the blatant refusal of state government on financial autonomy for Local Governments has gone on for over 20 years.

Justice Agim noted that the 774 local government areas in the country should manage their funds themselves.

It also struck out the preliminary objections of the defendants (state governors).

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

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

The Supreme court however, ordered that Local Government allocation from the Federation Account should be paid directly to them henceforth.

 

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