James Sowole in Akure
Excited by the federal government directive that financial allocation to local governments be paid directly into their respective accounts, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has said special trainings would soon be organised for workers at the third tier of government on how to enforce compliance and implement the decision.
The Ondo State NULGE President, Bola Taiwo, disclosed the plan of the union at a news conference on the action of the federal government.
Taiwo, who expressed satisfaction with the decision on financial autonomy to local government, said local government autonomy had been a priority of the union for long.
“We are happy because this is a dream come true. We have been yearning and agitating for this autonomy to local government, as it has been our priority,” he said.
According to him, the new guidelines will serve as a mechanism to safeguard, protect and allow for transparency in the local government joint account management.
He said though Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) is a constitutional matter, the modification was to stop the siphoning of the council money.
NULGE president noted that the union would train and educate its members to look into activities of each local government so that there would not be any form of violation of the guidelines.
“It is said that anybody that violates this rule will be dealt with, and if there are violations the union must cry out immediately,” he said.
While urging the Ondo State Government to conduct local government election in the state, Taiwo advocated law against the appointment of caretaker chairmen to pilot affairs of council areas.
He, therefore, enjoined the state governments operating caretaker committees as administrators in councils to desist, saying such step was not a true representation.
“Election at local government area is another issue that must be taken seriously by state governments.
“Setting up caretaker committees to run affairs of local council is another means of siphoning money because the committee members are not elected but chosen by governors whom they are accountable to,” he said.
The NULGE president advised the Ondo State Government to take caution on its plan to create Local Council Development Areas (LCDA), warning that funds to run them might be a great challenge.