National Assembly Complex
The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has called on the National Assembly to institute proper reforms in the Local Government (LG) structure and administration in the proposed review of the 1999 constitution.
The body, in a memo which it submitted to the NASS recently, said the LG system has lost the essence of its creation as encapsulated in the 1976 reforms.
Since 1999, NULGE has been canvassing for a more democratic structure to run the affairs of the LGAs and against the abuse and non-compliance with relevant constitutional provisions that guide the operations of the State Joint Local Government Account (JAC).
The body also decried what it described as illegal and sundry deductions from Local Government fund through the Joint State-Local Government Account by the State Government.
In a copy of the memo, made available to THISDAY, the union lamented the deductions in primary teachers’ salaries, the shifting of responsibilities of running primary education outrightly to Local Government and the high jacking/taking over of statutory functions of Local Government by State Governments.
It therefore recommended that there should be an inclusion of LGs in the general provision chapter 1 part 1, sub-section 2 as one of the Federating Units of the Nigerian Federation with its establishment, Composition, powers, functions and tenure properly spelt out.
The status of the LGs, as the third tier of government should be emphasised with its autonomy restored with power to exercise executive, legislative and judicial functions, the union urged.
It also called for the removal of Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution, saying it is full of contradictions and confusion.
“It is under this ambiguity that state governments hide to manipulate the local government by aborting democratic governance by suspending elections and imposing a regime of Caretaker administration; usurping the statutory functions of local government and plunder its resources,” NULGE added.
“We declare that only an outright removal of the section that creates the state joint local government account can stop State Governments from tampering with local government fund to the extent that only between 23-25 per cent of statutory allocation from federation account eventually gets to the Local Government due to illegal and sundry deductions.
"All lawful methods to stop this fraud, including judgments of the Supreme Court and other Courts of competent jurisdiction have been frustrated by the state governments,” the memo read.