The 44 local government areas of Kano State are in conflict with the state government on its mandate for the LGAs to contribute 70% towards its N27 billion worth of projects.
Last Monday, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf initiated the construction of a three-layer interchange bridge at the Dan Agundi intersection and a clover leaf flyover bridge at the Tal’udu roundabout, both located in the state metropolis.
According to him, the N27 billion initiatives were implemented with the aim of mitigating traffic congestion, facilitating travel, enhancing the city’s aesthetics, managing pollution, and advancing infrastructure development. However, the allocation of funds for the project has caused concern and scepticism among several groups.
As per an internal memo, the construction of the flyover at the Dan’agundi Junction will require a total expenditure of approximately N16 billion. The payment for this project will be divided between the state and the 44 local governments in a ratio of 30/70. Additionally, the construction of the flyover at the Tal’udu Junction will cost more than N11 billion. Therefore, the total cost for both projects will exceed N27 billion.
The letter, dated 18 December, issued by the Office of the Accountant General, instructed the Commissioner for Local Government, who also serves as the state’s deputy governor, Aminu Abdulsalam, to allocate around N16 billion for the construction of the Dan’agundi flyover.
Displeased with the current payment agreement, the 44 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Kano State Chapter, filed a petition with the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 27. They sought an ex-parte order to prevent the state government from deducting funds from their accounts to finance the projects.
Although the court declined to issue the ex-parte order, it instructed the state government to be informed and provide reasons why the requested relief for the local governments should not be given.
The plaintiffs requested the court to issue an order prohibiting the defendants/respondents from exercising control, management, administration, disbursement, and expenditure of the funds and allocations that belong to the 44 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kano State in the Kano State Joint Local Account. This order would remain in effect until the plaintiffs’ main lawsuit is heard and decided.
The defendants/respondents in the lawsuit consist of the Kano State government, the Kano State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, and the state’s Accountant-General.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the court issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Kano State government, demanding a clear explanation as to why the ex-parte orders requested by the LGAs should not be approved.
Justice Donatus Okorowo issued the order in a decision, following the presentation of arguments by the plaintiffs’ counsel and the defendants’ lawyers over the application.
On December 28, 2023, Justice Okorowo refused to approve the request to prevent Governor Yusuf from using or distributing funds and allocations that belong to the 44 Local Government Areas. Instead, the defendants were instructed to appear before him on January 3 and provide reasons why the restraining orders should not be issued.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Ibrahim Nasarawa, informed the court that the matter was deferred so that the defendants could provide reasons why the interim orders should not be granted.
Nasarawa stated that the defendants were properly served in accordance with the court’s order. However, they have failed to provide their legal documents within the three-day timeframe specified by the court’s rules, which would demonstrate their justification for their actions.
However, Hafeez Matanmi, representing the first and second defendants, had a different opinion from Nasarawa’s argument.
He informed the court that he had received a briefing from his clients just the day before (Tuesday) and had submitted a memorandum of conditional attendance today (Wednesday). However, he stated that he had not yet reviewed all the legal documents submitted by the plaintiffs in the case.
Justice Okorowo, while delivering the verdict, acknowledged that the defendants were properly served with the legal documents on December 29, 2023. However, the defence counsel’s argument that the three-day period given to the defendants to respond was impacted by public holidays was accepted.
The judge subsequently granted the defendants a period of seven days to provide a reason why the ex-parte orders should not be approved. The judge then postponed the case until January 11th for a hearing on the matter.