Nigeria Union of Local Government Employee, NULGE, has rekindled calls for full autonomy for local governments to enable them function adequately as the third tier of government.
NULGE President in Gombe State, Comrade Abdulmumuni Bappayo, made the call in Gombe, at the weekend, saying state governments have gone beyond their mandate to oversee the affairs of local governments to abusing the joint account system, thereby rubbishing the essence of the third tier of government.
He said all local government workers are interested in the separation of state and local government account as they believe that such would speed up development at the grassroots.
“When we say full autonomy, we mean political, financial and administrative autonomy. You can agree with me that these are constitutional matters and the constitution recognises full autonomy for local governments.”
He said there should be a balance between allowing the autonomy of local governments and overseeing their affairs, despite the fact that the constitution gives power to state governments to oversee the affairs of the third tier of government.
He said the joint account has been abused by state governments, as they have not been following the provisions of the constitution.
“Part of Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution stated that: ‘once necessary deductions have been made, the rest of the money should be remitted to the local governments,’ but that has not been the practice in most states of the federation.”
Bappayo pledged NULGE’s commitment towards ensuring that local governments in the state are accorded their full entitlements.
He commended the bio-metric data capturing of all civil servants by the state government, saying it would establish the authentic number of civil servants and eliminate ghost workers from the system.
He called on officials saddled with the responsibility of conducting the exercise to hurry up because it is stalling payment of workers’ salaries.