Daily Trust (Abuja)

11 February 2013

Nigeria: Local Government Union Tackles NUT On Autonomy

Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has lambasted the Nigeria Union Teachers (NUT) for advocating the continuation of state and local joint accounts, saying it was a myopic position.

President of NUT Comrade Michael Alogba Olukoya had last week said the interest of primary school teachers would best be guaranteed if state governments retain the joint account system.

But the President of NULGE Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel said in a press conference that NUT's position was selfish and did not take into consideration the role of the local government in nation building.

"I sincerely disagree with the NUT president entirely in his own submission because up till now that the state local government account is controlled by the state government, is the NUT chairman telling me that no teacher in Nigeria is being owed salaries?

"If in his own thinking, the only remedy for NUT or teachers in the country to be having their salaries as and when due is by leaving the JAAC system in place, he is misconstruing the whole idea."

He added that efforts by NULGE to meet the leadership of NUT to approach the issue of local government from a common were unsuccessful because NUT did not respond positively.

"That was why from the beginning of this struggle, I don't know how many times I made attempts in inviting the NUT president to a round table because I consider NUT as a stakeholder in local government but sincerely speaking they are always not responding properly."

Khaleel stated that NULGE is looking beyond staff welfare but the best way to bring development to the grassroots, an achievement which can only be achieved though appropriate empowerment of the local government system.

"The issue is that after succeeding in getting the local government to become autonomous, there is another battle and this battle will be more funds for local governments in order to make local government viable enough to execute the projects and function very well as a tier of government," he said.

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