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Autonomy: NGO Aghast Over Non Passage Of LGA Bill In Some States

A non- governmental organization based in River state, Social Development integrated Centre SocialAction, has expressed dismay over the refusal of some state governments to pass the local government financial Autonomy bill almost ten months after it was passed by the National Assembly NASS.

African Examiner recalls that both chambers of the Nigeria’s National Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives, had passed the bill earlier in the year, with expectation that the 36 state Houses of Assembly will do same without much delay.

Both chambers of the NASS passed the bill entitled: ‘Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Abrogate the State Joint Local Government Account and Provide for a Special Account into which shall be paid all Allocations due to Local Government Councils from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State; and for Related Matters’ with a sweeping majority.

So far, only ten out of the 36 states of the federation have passed it, which includes, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Osun, Ogun, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Kogi and Kastina.
Speaking yesterday in Enugu during a one day capacity building workshop on effective service delivery/Community development organized for local government officials and media personnel in the state, Executive Director of SocialAction, Dr. Issac Asume Osuoka, regretted that despite the importance of the bill, some state governments have refused to do the needful.

According to him, it is important for Nigerians to known that for the bill to become a law, two- thirds of the 36 State Houses of Assembly, which is 24, must give approval to it, hence they must continue to raise their voices until it is realised.

The NGO boss, who spoke through a Senior programme officer in the organization, Prince Edegbuo, called on Nigerian citizens to rise up and increase their support to those that have been driving the campaign such as SocialAction and other groups.

Asume Osuoka, however, blamed the anomalies in that tier of government on the state governors whom he accused of always diverting LGAs funds into their personal pockets to the detriment of the poor suffering rural dwellers who ought to be the right beneficiaries.

He said: “the Nigeria governors forum is the problem of this local government Autonomy proposed law, because of their selfish interest.
“Since 1976, state governments have failed to implement reform proposals to grant autonomy to LGAs in Nigeria.

“Local governments have become mere appendages to the state governments, making then abdicate their constitutional responsibilities and creating opportunities for corruption.

He added that “Local government Authorities hardly prepare their budgets, and the necessary details are missing when they do.

“State governments hijack the state local government joint account and serve the Council areas of funds to implement projects by releasing funds in a discretionary manner, and making arbitrary deductions.

The Executive Director, noted that the lack of transparency and accountability in the third tier of government (LGAs), has remained a cog in the wheel of progress of development at the rural Communities

“Despite all the efforts invested in reforming the structure of the local government over the year, the level of misconduct that motivated the reform efforts remains unchanged to date, as the promise of LGA as a vehicle for delivering development to the grassroots was never realized, due to operational lapses which creates room for corruption, waste and political manipulation.

He explained that the workshop is aimed at further strengthening the capacity of the Enugu LGA officials on the task ahead.
Our Correspondent reports that the workshop featured several paper presentations on the subject matter.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=82095

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