Minister hails S’Court judgement, plans LGs conference

The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Zephaniah Jisalo, has expressed his support for the Supreme Court’s decision to grant autonomy to local governments in the country.

The seven-justice panel of the apex court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, ruled that the 774 local government councils in the country should independently manage their own funds.

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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Speaking at the opening of a two-day retreat for ministry staff in Abuja on Thursday, Jisalo stated that the autonomy would foster development in local governments.

Jisalo noted that with the autonomy granted to LGs, the staff of the ministry must perform its constitutional responsibilities to better the lives of the citizens.

He said, “I have been informed that the Supreme Court judgment has given the autonomy of local governments in the country. That is to say, the state assembly will also legislate on the activities of local government, including the tenure of a local government administration.

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“We are resolute to perform. And we have no excuse as a ministry not to perform. We will ensure that our effort will be translated meaningfully into improvements to the lives of our citizens of our country.”

Jisalo also disclosed that the ministry would organise a conference for local government leaders as well as the traditional rulers before the end of the year.

He said, “It will also help to develop, particularly the administration of the local government system and the chieftaincy affairs. The traditional rulers are under our office. And as such, we are going to have a local government conference in Nigeria. We are also going to have a conference of traditional rulers in Nigeria this year.”

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On the retreat, the minister said it would help to strategise and improve the ministry’s performance.

He said, “The retreat is a fundamental moment for us to reflect, to evaluate, and to strategize on how we can improve our performance management system and intergovernmental coordination to improve better services to our Nigerian people. The retreat marks a real commitment to excellence in our service delivery. The outcome will have far-reaching implications on our ministry and the entire nation.”

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