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Supreme Court Orders Governors To Defend LG Autonomy Suit Within 7 Days

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ordered the 36 state governors to file their defense within seven days in a suit brought by the Federal Government seeking full autonomy for the country’s 774 local governments.

The ruling, delivered on Thursday by Justice Garba Lawal, also directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to respond to the governors’ defense within two days of receiving it.

The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagebemi, SAN, had previously argued for a five-day deadline for the governors’ response, citing the urgency and importance of the case to local government autonomy.

While the governors did not object to the request for an expedited timeline, they initially sought 15 days to prepare their defense.

Justice Lawal, leading a seven-member panel of justices, emphasized the national significance and urgency of the suit, along with the absence of objections from the states, as justification for the reduced timeframe.

The Supreme Court further mandated the completion of all filing and exchange of processes within the allotted time, setting June 13th as the date for the next hearing.

Eight states – Borno, Kano, Kogi, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Sokoto – were absent from Thursday’s proceedings despite being served with hearing notices. Justice Lawal ordered that these states be served with fresh notices.

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