Some state governors, have been identified as stealing funds meant for local government councils in their states.
The governors are committing the illegal act, by refusing to conduct local government elections but instead, appointing caretaker chairman through whom they do whatsoever they like with the funds allocated to the councils.
Some of the governors are Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina, Willie Obiano of Anambra, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahaman of Kwara, Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara, Hope Uzodinma of Imo and Seyi Makinde of Oyo states.
These governors have refused to conduct local government elections, despite the expiration of the tenure of elected local government officials. They instead, prefer to work with handpicked cronies who would do their biddings with local government funds.
For Imo and Oyo state in particular, Hope Uzodinma and Seyi Makinde, sacked elected officers, whose tenures had not ended and replaced them with caretaker committees. Edo State has no local government caretaker committees but governor Obaseki makes use of heads of admin of the councils.
In condemnation of this corrupt and illegal acts, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) yesterday, Friday, April 16, 2021, raised the alarm that the governors were diverting local government funds, in violation of the guideline issued by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit in May 2019.
NULGE said the actions of the governors were depriving the people of the benefits that they should ordinarily have access to, and threatened it would shut down the 774 councils in the country if their demand for total autonomy for local governments is not approved within 30 days.
The union called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign an executive order preventing any state that failed to conduct LG poll from accessing local government allocations.
The National President of NULGE, Hakeem Ambali, said members of the union would storm the National Assembly and the state assemblies to express their dissatisfaction with the way the governors were running the third tier of government.
“About nine state governors are diverting and pilfering local government funds, thereby denying the people at the local government level the right to benefit from social amenities that should be provided by the local government.
“As a matter of urgency, Mr. President should sign an executive order preventing any state government that failed to conduct local government election from having access to local government allocations so that even if the money is released to the local government account, it should be for salary payment alone.
“They have to teach them (governors) a lesson; that is why NULGE would continue to be involved in agitation until the actualisation of political and financial autonomy for local governments.
“If we are to get things right in Nigeria, it is time to approve local government autonomy because all these agitations about insecurity, unemployment, lack of belief and hope in the Nigerian nation, leading to agitation for self-determination and disintegration of the country is borne out of the greed of most of those who claim to be political elite, who corner local government resources and misappropriate them,” he stated.