Breaking: Nigerian Governors lose grip as Supreme Court rules on LG financial autonomy

The Supreme Court has declared it unconstitutional for state governors to withhold funds meant for Local Government (LG) administrations.

In a ruling on Thursday, 11 July, 2024, Justice Emmanuel Agim stated that LG allocations from the Federation Account should henceforth be paid directly to the local governments.

The court’s decision follows a longstanding issue where state governors have refused to grant financial autonomy to local governments, effectively withholding funds intended for them.

Justice Agim said that all 774 local government areas (LAG) in Nigeria must manage their own finances independently.

The ruling dismissed preliminary objections from the state governors, backing the suit filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi. The Federal Government’s suit sought to prevent governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils, among other issues.

Justice Agim asserted the AGF’s right to protect the constitution by instituting the suit, ultimately directing that LG allocations should be disbursed directly from the Federation Account.