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Court dismisses govs suit challenging NFIU’s guidelines on local councils’ accounts

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday dismissed a suit by the 36 state governments seeking to stop the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from implementing its guidelines on the administration of local council funds.

The NFIU, an arm of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had in June 2019 issued a set of guidelines aimed at reducing cash withdrawals from local council accounts by state governments to N500,000 daily.

In the guidelines, the agency insisted that the states/local governments’ joint accounts should be used only for receiving funds and advised all banks not to honour transactions from joint accounts.

Irked by the development, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in the same year filed a suit against the Federal Government and NFIU at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for alleged interference with state government powers to initiate transactions on local council joint accounts.

READ ALSO: NLC renews demand for local council autonomy in Nigeria

In the suit, the governors asked the court to stop NFIU from implementing the guidelines.

The request was however rejected by Justice John Tsoho for lack of merit.

At Monday’s proceedings, Justice Ekwo also dismissed the governors’ suit for lack of merit.

He held that the NFIU guidelines were aimed at ensuring financial transparency in government transactions at the local level.

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