NULGE holds prayer, fasting ahead of Supreme Court ruling  

The National Union of Local Government Employees said it would hold a national day of prayer and fasting towards victory for local government autonomy at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The national president of NULGE, Hakeem Ambali, made this known in a text message sent to our correspondent on Wednesday in Abuja.

The PUNCH reports that the Supreme Court has fixed Thursday to deliver the judgment in a suit seeking full autonomy for the 774 local governments in the country.

The suit was filed by the Nigerian government against the 36 state governors.

“NULGE declares Tomorrow a day of national prayer and fasting towards victory for Local Government Autonomy at Supreme Court,” the message by Ambali read.

The Nigerian government had filed a suit at the Supreme Court against governors of the 36 states.

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In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the Federal Government is seeking full autonomy for the country’s 774 local governments.

The Federal Government is also asking for an order preventing the governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected councils.

It is commonplace for governors to sack elected councils and impose caretaker committees in their stead.

In the suit filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,  Lateef Fagbemi, the Federal Government also requested the Supreme Court to authorise the direct transfer of funds from the federation account to local governments — by the constitution.

The suit is hinged on 27 grounds; “That the constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognized tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the federation account created by the constitution,” the originating summons reads.

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“That by the provisions of the constitution, there must be a democratically elected local government system and that the constitution has not made provisions for any other systems of governance at the local government level other than the democratically elected local government system.

“That in the face of the clear provisions of the constitution, the governors have failed and refused to put in place a democratically elected local government system even where no state of emergency has been declared to warrant the suspension of democratic institutions in the state.

“That the failure of the governors to put democratically elected local government system in place is a deliberate subversion of the 1999 Constitution which they and the President have sworn to uphold.

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“That all efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system, has not yielded any result and that to continue to disburse funds from the federation account to governors for non existing democratically elected local governments is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 constitution.”

The Federal Government asked the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7, and 14 of the constitution to declare that the governors and state houses of assembly are under obligation to ensure democratically elected systems at the third tier.

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