Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The attempt by the Senate Committee on States and Local Governments to fraudulently obtain money from local government councils in the country has been exposed.

The committee chaired by Senator Abdullahi Gumel (Jigawa North-west) has been sending letters to council chairmen in different states that it wants to give awards to council chairmen who have distinguished themselves in grassroots development.

A copy of the letter seen by THISDAY Wednesday night, with the title: ‘Nomination for Nigeria Local Government Development Award 2016/17,’ stated that the committee went on assessment tour of local governments in the country and in its bid to ensure accountability and healthy competition in local councils, had opted to give some council chairmen awards.

According to the letters signed by the committee’s clerk, Japhel Sagai, dated January 23, 2017, the award ceremony was scheduled to take place at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja on March 23, 2017, without the knowledge of the Senate leadership.

However, one of the councils which was aware of the ulterior motives of the committee decided to leak the letter to the National Assembly leadership.

The letter read: “The committee on states and local governments of the Senate undertook an asessment tour of local governments in the country aimed at encouraging transparency, accountability and healthy competition of performance among various local government chairmen in Nigeria.

“It is also aimed at challenging the various local government administrations to the tenets of good governance that is required to fast tract (sic) grassroots development and to enable the committee initiate laws that will effectively strengthen local governments to function efficiently and stimulate grassroots development.

“A major outcome of the assessment is the nomination of deserving chairmen for Nigeria local governments development awards in each state of the federation. To this end, in recognition of developmental strides in your local government area as attested to by the impactful projects and programmes and the effort at improving on states and local government administrations has found it auspicious to nominate you as one of the best performing local government chairmen in your state for Nigeria Local Government Development Awards.

“The award presentation is scheduled to hold on 23 March, 2017 at ICC, Abuja. Enclosed here are invitation cards for your guests. Please note that admittance (sic) to the hall is strictly by invitation cards. Further details are attached to this letter. Congratulations and accept committee’s highest regards.”