The Federal Government and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) have defeated state governors, under the auspices of Nigerian Governors’Forum (NGF), in Court over the autonomy in matters concerning Local government joint accounts.
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) had dragged the federal government and NFIU to court for interfering with state government powers to initiate transactions on local government joint accounts, citing provisions of the 1999 constitution.
The NGF was prompted to go to court when the NFIU, in June 2019, issued guidelines aimed at curbing crime vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government accounts by various state governments.
The NFIU’s guideline was basically on money laundering risk and vulnerabilities, advising all banks not to honour transactions from joint accounts.
It directed that the States/Local Governments Joint Accounts should be used only for receiving funds and subsequently transferring them to local government accounts only.
The guidelines also reduced cash withdrawal from local government accounts to N500,000 daily.
However, a Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, today, May 23, delivered a judgment in favour of the Federal Government and Nigerian Financial Intelligence.
Reacting to the judgment, the Director/CEO of NFIU, Modibbo Tukur, said that it ruling was good because the federal government was always ready to protect both states and local governments, by making funds available for their governance responsibility.
Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, NFIU boss, stressed that from this judgment and from today, all transactions on Local Government funds will be disclosed to ICPC and EFCC 100 percent and will be reported continuously.
He said that funds can now be decided on by local councils which can be channeled to improving local security.