“Abuse of Court Process” – Ondo State Faults FG’s Suit on Local Government Autonomy

The Ondo State government has challenged the competence of the Federal Government’s suit filed at the Supreme Court regarding local government autonomy.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that the Federal Government in the suit marked: SC/CV/343/2024, which was filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, is seeking full autonomy for all the 774 LGAs in the country as the third tier of government.

However, in a preliminary objection, Ondo state argues that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) lacks the constitutional power to query how a state runs its local governments or administers its funds.

The state describes the action of the federal government as an “abuse of court process.”

“This suit is an affront to the principles of the rule of law, democracy, separation of powers and true federalism as clearly outlined in the Constitution.

“This suit constitutes a gross abuse of the process of this honourable court,” the state said.

Ondo State contends that only the National Assembly or the state House of Assembly can query the administration of local governments and their funds.

The state describes the Federal Government as a “meddlesome interloper” in local government administration and urges the Supreme Court to decline jurisdiction over the case.

Ondo State argues that the Supreme Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the case, as it was filed in violation of the Constitution and the Supreme Court (Additional Jurisdiction) Act.

The state also faults the averments in some paragraphs of the affidavit filed by the plaintiff, citing a violation of the Evidence Act 2011.

The state insists that the proper parties in any action where the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is invoked are persons listed in Section 232(1) of the Constitution and Section 1(1)(a) of the Supreme Court (Additional Jurisdiction) Act.

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