Atiku hails Supreme Court judgment on LG autonomy

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgment affirming fiscal autonomy for local government councils across Nigeria.

In a statement released on Thursday via X, Atiku described the ruling as “a win for the people of Nigeria” and a step in the right direction.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturns the previous practice of consolidating local council revenues into state government accounts.

Atiku criticised the earlier arrangement, stating that it was borne out of politics of hasty compromise.

Expressing his support for the ruling, Atiku said, “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.”

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The former Vice President went further, advocating for an expansion of fiscal autonomy beyond Federation Account allocations.

“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,” he stated.

Atiku highlighted concerns about state governments, particularly in urban areas, interfering with local councils’ revenue generation.

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He wrote, “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.”

Atiku further praised the Supreme Court’s role, saying, “The verdict of the court is in tandem with the core functions of the Supreme Court as an arbitration court between and among governments.”

On Thursday, the Supreme Court declared that it is unconstitutional for state governors to hold funds allocated for local government administrations.

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The seven-man panel, in the judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, declared that the 774 local government councils in the country should manage their funds themselves.

The apex court held that the power of the government is portioned into three arms of government, the federal, the state and the local government.

The court further declared that a state government has no power to appoint a caretaker committee and a local government council is only recognisable with a democratically elected government.

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