THE National Conscience Party of Nigeria, founded by late lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, to stop further allocation of funds to Lagos State, from the federation account over failure of the state to conduct local government elections.
This suit was filed against the backdrop of a court ruling in 2015.A Lagos State High Court had in 2015 declared the system of caretaker committees for local governments in Lagos State, null and void and ordered elections within 90 days following a suit filed by the NCP.
The government had appealed against the judgment and has not conducted the election till date. Consequently NCP through its counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed a new suit delineated FHC/L/CS/198/2017, to ask for a court declaration stating that only elected officers are entitled to run the affairs of all local governments in Lagos State.
It is also asking for a declaration that Lagos State is not entitled to benefit from the federation account since it has refused to conduct local government elections and that the court should stop Lagos State from distributing money accruing from the federation account to illegal entities not recognized by the constitution.
Those listed as defendants in the suit which is supported by a 17 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Comrade Ayodele Akele, the National Secretary of NCP are the Attorney-General of Lagos State and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Akele averred in the affidavit that the Lagos State Government has been sharing revenue accruing to local governments to illegal entities such as the local council development areas and caretaker committees not recognized by the constitution.
NCP is asking the court for some reliefs which includes a declaration that only democratically constituted Local Government Administrations are recognized under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, a declaration that only constitutionally recognized Local Government Administrations can validly receive, appropriate, allocate, disburse and/or expend revenues from the federation account meant for local governments in Lagos State.
Other reliefs being sought include a declaration that there has not been any Local Government Administration in Lagos State since November, 2014 up to the time of filing the action, that the continued allocation of revenues from the federation account for the benefit of Local Governments in Lagos State by the 2nd Defendant since November, 2014 up to the time of filing this action is unconstitutional and that the amendment of section 24A of the Local Government Administration Law of Lagos State Cap. L73 Laws of Lagos State 2003 by the Lagos State House of Assembly is unconstitutional, null and void and of no legal effect whatsoever.
NCP further asked for an injunction restraining the defendant, beginning on the date of the judgment of the court, from further allocating revenues from the federation account for the benefit of Local Governments and in Lagos State pending the time Local Government Administrations are constitutionally and democratically constituted in the state and an order compelling the government to give account of all revenues received by the Lagos State Government from the federation account for the benefit of Local Governments in the State between the period of November, 2014 up to the time of filing this action and/or up to any time local government administrations are constitutionally and democratically constituted in the state.
And to within seven (7) days of the judgment of the Court, refund to the federation account, all revenues received from the federation account for the benefit of local governments in Lagos State within the period of November, 2014 up to the time of filing this action and/or up to any time local government administrations are constitutionally and democratically constituted in the state.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.