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Court rules in favour of LGA autonomy


A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has declared that Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country can exercise the functions accorded them under the constitution without National Assembly enactment.

Justice Charles Agbaza said the fact that the National Assembly was yet to enact a law to spell out functions for the area councils as provided for under Section 7(5) of the Constitution does not divest them of their primary functions already listed in the Constitution.

The pronouncement followed a suit by an Abuja-based lawyer, Ogwu, James Onoja, challenging the move by the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, and the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) to replace the road named after him by the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, with ‘Amma Pepple Crescent’.

“The constitution had already recognised and indeed accorded those functions as functions of the local government areas or area council; the law to be enacted is mainly to comply with the provisions of the constitution as the constitution had already under the fourth schedule assigned or accorded the local government councils or area councils the function which include the naming of streets and roads. See Section 1(g) of the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution,” the judge said.

Justice Agbaza also restrained the FCDA and its agencies from further tampering with the street named after Onoja.

Onoja had sought the court’s determination on whether the FCDA and AMMC or any other department of the Federal Capital has the powers to demolish, dismantle or destroy street posts and signs mounted by AMAC in view of the provisions of Sections 7, 303, 328, First Schedule, Part II and Paragraph (g) of the Fourth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

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