SERAP Warns Governors, FCT Minister: Account for LG funds or face legal action

Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued a stern call for accountability from Nigeria’s 36 governors and the FCT minister, following a landmark Supreme Court decision.

The court ruled against the governors’ continued retention and use of funds allocated to the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country.

In a decisive judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court declared the governors’ actions unlawful and unconstitutional, citing a blatant violation of Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution.

Justice Agim emphasized the necessity for direct payment of LGA allocations from the federation account to ensure compliance with democratic principles.

“Demands of justice require a progressive interpretation of the law,” the court stated, underscoring the imperative to halt the governors’ prolonged misuse of LGA funds.

The ruling also invalidated the appointment of caretaker committees by governors to administer LGAs, affirming the mandate for democratic governance at the local level.

Reacting to the ruling, SERAP urged the governors and the FCT minister to promptly account for and return all funds previously collected, warning of impending legal action if compliance is not met.

The Supreme Court’s decision follows a suit filed by the Federal Government aimed at securing financial autonomy for LGAs, marking a significant step towards reinforcing governance transparency and accountability at the grassroots level.

The arraignment of former Power Minister, Mamman, was also mentioned as being stalled in a related case.

SERAP’s call underscores growing pressure for transparency and adherence to constitutional provisions in governance across Nigeria’s administrative tiers.

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