The Federal Government and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on Monday May 23, won the case against the state governors over the financial autonomy from the Local Government joint account.
Ahmed Dikko, NFIU’s chief media analyst said in a statement that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court delivered the judgement.
The NFIU had in June 2019 issued guidelines aimed at curbing crime vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government accounts by various state governments.
The guideline, which was on money laundering risk and vulnerabilities, advised all banks not to honour transactions from joint accounts.
It also reduced cash withdrawal from local government accounts to N500,000 daily. The guideline further directed that the states/local governments’ joint accounts should be used only for receiving funds and subsequently transferring them to local government accounts only.
However the Nigerian Governors Forum sued the FG and NFIU for interfering with state government powers to initiate transactions on Local Government Joint accounts citing provisions of the 1999 constitution.
In 2019, NGF approached a federal high court presided over by Chief Judge of the federal high court to stop the NFIU’s guidelines from being implemented, but he declined the request.
Another federal judge in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, reportedly refused to restrain NFIU from pushing through with the guidelines.
The judgement given by Justice Ekwo is also coming months after the national assembly passed a bill seeking to grant financial autonomy to local governments across the country.