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Ondo Government Asks Supreme Court to Dismiss AGF's Suit on LGs Autonomy

Ondo Government Asks Supreme Court to Dismiss AGF's Suit on LGs Autonomy

The Ondo State Government has formally joined issues with the Attorney General of the Federation in a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking autonomy for the 774 local governments in the country, praying the Apex Court to dismiss the suit in its entirety.


The Ondo State Government like other State Governments in its opposition to the federal government's suit instituted by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, claimed that the federal government lacks locus standi to institute the suit for the local governments.


In the Notice of Preliminary Objection filed by the Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Olukayode Ajulo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the federal government was declared as a busy body and a meddlesome interloper by its intervention in the local governments affairs.


The objection by the Ondo State Government which is the 28 defendant in the FG suit was predicated on 27 grounds of objections. 


Among the grounds, Ajulo on behalf of Ondo State claimed that the Attorney General of the Federation cannot single handedly rewrite the Nigeria Constitution by asking the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit which he filed in flagrant violation of section 232 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 1 of the Supreme Court Act 3, 2002 and Order 3, Rule 6 of the Apex Court.


The notice of objection claimed that Section 232 of the Constitution only permitted the invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court where there is a dispute between the federation as plaintiff and states as defendants which involves any question of law or fact on which the existence or extent of the legal right of either the federation or states depends.


Maintaining that the federal government has no locus standi to maintain the suit, the Ondo State Government asserted that the funds complained of in the suit belong to local governments created by the Constitution as a distinct and different tier of government independent of the federal government.


Citing Section 162(3) of the 1999 Constitution, the Ondo State Government averred that any amount standing to the credit of the federation account shall be distributed among the federal and state governments and the local government Councils in each state on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, adding that the sharing among the three distinct tiers is not a subject to the discretion or any terms and conditions of the federal government.


It would be recalled that the Attorney General of the Federation, acting on behalf of the federal government had dragged the 36 States government before the Supreme Court, accusing them of misconduct in the management of local governments in the country and demanded for an order of the Apex Court to grant local governments full autonomy and their monies from the Federation Account to be channelled directly to the council.


Meanwhile the Apex Court will hear the matter on June 13.




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