Supreme Court delivers judgment on LG autonomy today

Prepare for trouble, attack from litigants, CJN warns new judges

The Supreme Court will, today, rule on the contentious issue of local government autonomy instituted by the Federal Government against the 36 state governors.
The Guardian gathered that the court had communicated to parties and their lawyers on the date for judgment.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, has warned new judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be prepared for troubles, uncomplimentary remarks and verbal attacks from litigants.
The Federal Government instituted legal action against the governors due to alleged misconduct in the administration of local councils.
In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Abuja is seeking full autonomy for the 774 local councils in the country as the third tier of government.
It specifically prayed the apex court to issue an order, prohibiting state governors from embarking on the unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically-elected local council leaders as well as an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local councils to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account, in line with the provisions of the Constitution, as against the joint accounts reportedly created by governors.
Besides, the Federal Government prayed the Supreme Court for an order stopping governors from further constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local councils as against the constitutionally recognised and guaranteed democratic system.
It equally applied for an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents and privies from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the Federation Account for the benefit of local councils when no democratically-elected local government system is put in place in the states.
All parties in the matter had on May 30, 2024, adopted their briefs and the court subsequently reserved judgment.

ARIWOOLA, while congratulating the 12 new judges, he sympathised with them because of the discomfort they would encounter in the discharge of their judicial duties.
Inaugurating the judges, yesterday, the CJN said although judges were not magicians, the litigants would expect them to perform magic for reasons best known to them.
He challenged the judges to be prepared to absorb uncomplimentary remarks and do their jobs in line with the dictates of the law and the oath of office they took.
The CJN said, “The newly appointed 12 judges of the High Court of FCT have just taken the oath of office. This is an exercise required of all judicial officers to align their conscience with the reality of the new status they are assuming.
“It indicates that things can never remain the same in Your Lordships’ lives again because your lifestyle has automatically changed and your acquaintances too have to be instantaneously reviewed and reordered to align with your new status.”
He charged them to be led by wisdom and conscience on the solemn voyage of self-actualisation.
“The new page that has just been opened in your lives must contain opulent contents that will speak favourably about you in the future,” he added.

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