Dogara Harps On Financial Autonomy For LGAs
*Want INEC to conduct local council elections
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has again reiterated the resolve of the National Assembly to grant financial autonomy to the 774 local government councils in the Nigeria.
Dogara explained that lack of elections at the local government level is crippling democracy and denying the much needed development at the third their of government.
According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, Dogara said the House under his leadership was in the process of granting financial autonomy to the 36 States Houses of Assembly.
He decried a situation whereby governors have constituted themselves as middlemen who continous to hijack funds meant for the councils in the name of joint account which he described as “evil”.
The speaker further described as aberration and illegality the continous existence of care-taker committees manning the affairs of local governement councils.
Dogara, disclosed that clauses may be introduced in the constitutional amendment bill that will not only outlaw care taker committees but would also stop allocation of funds from the federation account to local governments that do not have democratically elected councils.
As a step to end the illegality perpatrated by state governments, the speaker disclosed that the parliament would consider abolishing States Independent Electoral Commission (SIECs) thereby empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take over their functions.
“As a matter of fact, joint account is one of the biggest evils because it gives the authority to local government ministries in the state. In most states, especially in the north where we don’t have oil and co, the ministry of local government in the state is regarded as the ministry of petroleum resources.”
“We all know when funds are allocated to the councils. Instead of getting to the councils, they are hijacked at that level and appropriated according to the whims of the powers that be.”
He also called on the media, civil society organisations and well meaning Nigerians to be vigilant and ensure that the proposed amendments are endorsed by alteast 24 out of the 36 state assemblies by mounting pressure on them and the governors.
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