Vanguard (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: NULGE Poised to Tackle Govs Over LG Autonomy

Benin — LOCAL government workers, under the aegis of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, yesterday, in Benin, Edo State, threatened to resist moves by some state governors to thwart plans for constitutional autonomy for local government councils in the country.

President of NULGE, Edo State chapter, Mr. Patrick Okeranlen, who gave the indication while speaking with newsmen, said series of sensitisation rallies to foil attempts to subvert the peoples' will had been scheduled by the union in the six geo-political zones of the country.

He said: "During the public hearings in the zones, beside the one sponsored by the House of Representatives and the Senate, the people were resolute that local governments should be given autonomy. Among the millions of people in this country, how can the governors say otherwise, to jeopardise our effort? We will resist them."

Frowning at what he called the manipulation of state Houses of Assembly by some governors to enact laws that would further strip the councils of their constitutional rights besides the non-remittance of the statutory 10 per cent internally generated revenue, he said that granting autonomy to local governments remained the only panacea to grassroots development in any democracy.

"Invariably, what other states, apart from River State, are doing, is to take the one the Federal Government had given and not to add the 10 percent internally generated revenue before allocating it to the councils and after deducting teachers salaries, what is left is not able to cater for staff salaries."

He appealled to Edo State governor to comply with the provision of the constitution by remitting the 10 percent internally generated revenue to the local governments.

Okeranlen commended the governor over his decision to conduct local government elections billed for April 20, and urged him to provide a level play field for all the political parties.

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