The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has cautioned the leadership of the 774 local governments in the country against carrying out directives of governors to release funds through back channels to organisations or agencies of state governments.
NULGE National President Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel Abdulkadir made the call through an open letter to the 774 local government council chairmen, treasurers of councils and Directors General Services and Administration (DGSA) across the country, copies of which were made available to newsmen recently.
The letter reads in parts: "The leadership of our union and entire members have over the years being in the forefront for the autonomy of the local government system to free it to perform its functions in accordance with its philosophy. Our relentless campaign for local government autonomy gained national popular support and invariably the backing of the 7th and 8th national assemblies, which voted overwhelmingly in support of key clauses seeking to grant autonomy to the third tier of government."
Comrade Abdulkadir also noted that on each attempt, "governors had truncated the exercise as in the end the needed amendments could not get the required two-third majority of State Houses of Assembly's concurrence to scale through."
The NFIU guidelines asserts that, "It is hereby provided that any public officer anywhere in the country and/or any private citizen found undermining or violating these guidelines will be investigated and prosecuted under the NFIU Act 2018, the MI (PA), 2011 (as amended), the EFCC Act, 2004 and the ICPC Act, 2000, by the Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC)."
However, the union expressed delight over the content of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit's recent guidelines with respect to the operation of State-Local Governments Joint Accounts.
It further stressed that any local government officer who blindly followed instructions of governors to transfer or divert local government funds to non-local government's project would be liable for it.