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KNSG, 4 LGs Ask Court To Dismiss Joint Account Crisis Suit



Kano State government and four local government councils (LGs) listed as respondents in a suit filed by 44 LGAs in the state have prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The respondents, in separate preliminary objections filed by their lawyers, urged Justice Donatus Okorowo to decline jurisdiction in the matter.

The four LGs that opposed the suit include Bebeji, Gwale, Nasarawa, and Sumaila local government councils listed as 4th, 18th, 31st, and 36th plaintiffs in the suit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Okorowo had, on Dec. 28, 2023, declined to grant the ex-parte motion seeking to bar Gov. Abba Yusuf of Kano State from disbursing or spending funds and allocations belonging to the 44 LGs in the joint state and local government account for projects.

The judge, rather, ordered the defendants to appear before him to show cause why the restraining orders should not be granted.

NAN reports that the ex-parte motion, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1733/2023, was filed by the 44 LGs and the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Kano State Chapter on Dec. 27, 2023.

In the suit, Kano State government, the Kano State Attorney-General (A-G) and Commissioner for Justice, and the state’s Accountant-General were sued as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

They prayed the court for an order restraining the defendants/respondents from controlling, managing, further administering, disbursing, and spending the funds and allocations belonging to the 44 LGs in the state’s joint account, pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs’ substantive suit.

The defendants filed an affidavit to show cause, preliminary objection, and counter affidavit to the plaintiffs’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

In the preliminary objection filed by 1st and 2nd defendants by Mahmud Magaji, SAN, they said the reliefs and cause of action of the plaintiffs “from the affidavit in support of the originating summons is a dispute relating to revenue/funds of 44 LGs, Kano State government and its agencies.”

They argued that by virtue of Section 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the court had jurisdiction only over matters relating to the revenue of the government of the federation or any of its agencies.


They said neither the plaintiffs nor the defendants were the government of the federation or its agencies, hence, the court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the disputes.

Besides, they argued that the court lacked the power to determine the matter, having been informed that there were pending appeals before the Supreme Court in Appeal No: SC/CV/1132/2023: NNPP Vs Yusuf Abba Kabir & Ors; Appeal No: SC/CV/1179/2023: Yusuf Abba Kabir & Ors Vs APC & Ors and Appeal No: SC/CV/1184/2023: INEC Vs APC & Ors.

The state government and A-G described the suit as being “manifestly incompetent.”

Also the four LGs, in their primary objection filed by Abdulkarim Maude, sought an order declaring that the matter was purportedly instituted without their leave and consent.

They urged the court to decline jurisdiction and strike out the suit.

According to them, the 4th, 18th, 31st, and 36th purported plaintiffs/applicants did not authorize any counsel to Institute this suit on its behalf.

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They argued that they had consented to the execution of the project set out by the state government together with the other 40 LGs through a letter of approval signed by ALGON on behalf of all chairmen of the 44 LGs.

“That all the parties in this suit are Kano State agencies and the subject matter of this suit is within the operations and affairs of the state and local government and not that of the Federal Government or its agencies contrary to Section 251 (a) to (j) of the 1999 Constitution,” they corroborated.

Upon resumed hearing on Thursday, plaintiffs’ counsel, Ibrahim Nasarawa, told the court that he had been served by the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd defendants with all their processes, including an affidavit to show cause.

Nasarawa informed the court that he equally filed an application, seeking to strike out the names of the four LGs as plaintiffs in the suit.

He said he had also filed a counter affidavit to respond to the defence processes and was served on them today.

The lawyer, who sought an adjournment to respond to other processes served on them, applied that all the applications be taken same day on the next adjourned date.


Maude, who appeared for the four LGs, said he was just being served with Nasarawa’s motion seeking to strike out the names of his clients.

He said he would study the motion to know if it would be opposed.

Maude, who sought an adjournment, said he had filed a preliminary objection challenging the entire suit.

Counsel for the state government and A-G, Affis Matanmi, told the court that his clients had complied with the order directing them to show cause within seven days why the order sought by the plaintiffs should not be granted.

He did not oppose an application for adjournment but Nasarawa’s request that all the applications be taken same day with the substantive matter.

Matanmi argued that the motion seeking to strike out the four LGs’ names ought to be heard and determined by the court before proceeding.

He said the motion would determine which way the case would go.

Okechukwu Edeze, who represented the 3rd defendant also spoke in the same vein.

Justice Okorowo, in a ruling, referred the case file back to the registry for reassignment.

He held that since the matter came to him as a vacation judge and the Christmas vacation ended on Jan. 5, all cases stopped as soon as the vacation ends.


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