Federal and State legislators have been fingered in the continued squandering of Local Council Funds by the respective governors across the 36 states of Nigeria reducing the funds meant for development of councils and empowerment the people to the governor’s miscellaneous spending.
A newly inaugurated body comprising network of various organizations, Save Local Government Council Autonomy Group said the action was inimical to the development of the various councils and the nation in general and therefore called on Nigerians to join forces to stop the ‘Legislative Fraud’ used to pilfer council resources by governors and their cohorts.
Honorable Ngozika Ihuoma, Executive Secretary Save Local Government Council Autonomy Group said “The Executive arm at both the Federal and state levels embarked on frivolous spending of Local government funds using these fraudulent legislation thereby making the Local government Funds their Miscellaneous expenses,” has said.
He pointed out that the action runs contrary to the provision of the 1999 Constitution which empowers Local Government Areas as a third tier of government and recognized LG role in the economic and infrastructural development of the council has persisted since the dawn of this democracy.
Ngozika who addressed the inaugural Press conference in Abuja on the urgent need to stop forthwith the illegality perpetrated by the Governors through the legal endorsement by the Federal and state houses of Assemblies robs the council of over 87 percent of its resources.
“We have observed that the Legislature at both the Federal [NASS] and States [SHA] have embarked on ‘Legislative fraud’ when it comes to the issue of Local Government Fund. First was the Source Deduction by the Federal Government, which diverted over 83% of Local Government Fund to NPEC form 1994 – 2002
“Secondly, the various State house of Assembly have established State Joint Local Government Account Allocation Laws and created ‘First Line Charges’ to divert local Government Funds to agencies, bodies and individuals not known to the Constitution.’ Ngozika stated.
He called on the anti-graft agencies to move in arrest, and prosecute all culpable persons as the Joint allocation account remains the criminal source and strength of the governors’ action and conversion of local government funds into miscellaneous funds.
Ngozika, said the Collusion by the Federal and state houses of assemblies which enabled the respective government to fritter out over 87% of Councils’ funds deceitfully channeled to the National Primary Education Commission also usurps the statutory responsibility of the council to pay its teachers has been duly abolished by the Supreme Court judgment.
The group’s scribe said the illegality was copied by the state houses of assembly in a deceitful connivance with their governors to create the fraudulent State Joint Account Allocation Laws through which it cornered more councils’ resources that would accelerated the development at the grassroots.