S’Court ruling : No more excuse for non-performance by LG chairmen — IPAC

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The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Lagos State says there is no more excuse for non-performance by  local government chairmen with the Supreme Court’s ruling on local government autonomy.

The State IPAC Chairperson, Mrs Temilola Akinade, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

The Apex Court on Thursday ruled in favour of full  financial autonomy for  the 774 local government councils in the country.

NAN reports that In the landmark judgment, the court ordered the Federal Government to immediately start  direct payment of local governments’ funds to the latter’s exclusive accounts.

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Reading the lead judgment, Justice Emmanuel Agim, decried  the decades-long refusal of  state governments to allow  financial autonomy for local governments in their respective states.

Justice Agim noted that the 774 local government councils in the country should have the freedom to manage their funds themselves.

Reacting , Akinade, who noted that President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to LG autonomy was commendable ,said the verdict would ensure delivery of more dividends of democracy to people at the grassroots.

Akinade said: “That is the best way to go .Our expectation now is that LGs having full autonomy will help the council chairmen to do more in the various local government areas.

“If they do not see this autonomy as a way of  enriching themselves the more,it is expected they will do more to impact the people.

“It is high time the citizens questioned their council leaderships on how they spend resources meant for them.

“With this, I don’t think there should be more  stories  by  local government chairmen. They need to do more for the people.”

The IPAC boss commended the President for  approaching the Supreme Court to ensure   councils  have autonomy.

NAN reports Thursday’s ruling followed  a legal action instituted by the Federal Government  against the governors of the 36 states of the federation at the Supreme Court over what it called their interference in the administration of local councils in their respective states.

The suit filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, sought  full autonomy for all local government councils  in the country.

In the  suit, the Federal Government specifically prayed the court to issue an order, prohibiting state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leaders.

The suit also asked for an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account, in line with the provisions of the constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

FG also prayed the Supreme Court for an order stopping governors from further constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the constitutionally recognized and guaranteed democratic system.

It equally applied for an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents and privies from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the federation account for the benefits of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place in the states. (NAN)

By Adeyemi Adeleye

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