Nigerian governors under the umbrella of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) will meet today, Wednesday over the lingering issue of local government financial autonomy.
Spokesman of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, said the meeting which is expected to be a hybrid will commence from 2 pm today but governors are expected to log on from 1 pm.
He noted that it will be the 5th teleconference meeting in this year, 2022.
“The lingering issue of the local governments’ financial autonomy which became topical nationwide from yesterday may form part of the chairman’s brief which is regularly given at the beginning of each meeting to open the matter for discussion among governors,” he said.
The meeting comes after Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja okayed the position of the federal government and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on local government joint accounts nationwide.
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 governors forum had dragged the federal government and NFIU to court for interfering with state governments’ powers to initiate transactions on local government joint accounts citing provisions of the 1999 constitution.
The NFIU issued guidelines on money laundering risks and vulnerabilities, advising all banks not to honour transactions from joint accounts.
It equally 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.
After the issuance, the governors forum approached the Federal High Court headed by Justice John Tsoho to stop the NFIU’s guidelines from being implemented, but the judge dismissed the request.
After another suit by the governors before the Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, it refused to restrain the NFIU from pushing through with its guidelines.