Niger LG Chairmen warns Gov Bello over funds release.
Barely one month after the newly inaugurated local government chairmen in Niger state has warned the state governor, Alhaji Abuakar Sani Bello over the non release of funds to the councils.
The Chairmen further threatened to relinquish their mandate if by June, no fund is release to them to run the affairs of the councils hence the situation was capable of ruin their political carriers.
Investigation revealed that since the inception of the present administration in the state, only N20million was released to each of the 25 local government councils in the state apart from the payment of salaries of the local government staff.
The N20. Million, it was gathered was only released to the caretaker committee chairmen a week before the last local government election in the state which produced the current chairmen.
Civil servants in the 25 local government councils in the state are yet to be paid their February salary, a situation that has put further pressure on the chairmen.
Some of the council chairmen who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that since their inauguration, they have not been able to go to the office as there is no fund to run the council, describing the situation as unacceptable.
According to one of the chairmen, since after taken over, he has not gone back to the office again because there is no fund to run the office, adding that “this is not what the governor promised us. I don’t know what anyone can do without fund, and all we keep hearing is that there is no fund.
“Some of us may have no choice than to relinquish our mandate if the situation continues like this till June. To even make the matter worst, the governor asked the house of assembly to reduce our tenure from three to two years.
“We never knew about this until we were sworn in and the question now is that, what will an elected officer dowithin two years in office, this is amount to killing ones political carrier because there is nothing you can do for the people in two years“.
The governor, during the inauguration of the council told them (council chairmen) that they should hit the ground running in their various local governments, urging them to imbibe the culture of doing things right, saying that “the people you will serve are very well known to you and their plight also conversant to your knowledge”.
But the chairmen said they can not hit the ground running because there is no money to embark on any activities, pointing out that “when ordinary salary can not be paid how do you hit the ground running”.
Reacting to this development in an interview, the President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Niger state chapter, Comrade Saidu Aliyu Kala told journalist that the issue of non release of funds to the local government by the state government is a set back.
According to him, “we are not after only the payment of salaries of local government staff but we are also after the development of the councils.
“When we look back to the time when the councils were greeting their allocations from the federation account directly, when there was no joint account between the state and local government, they were doing better than now”
Comrade Kala, admitted that only N20million have been disbursed to the councils since the inception of this administration in the state, stressing that “I have not heard if they have been given any other money officially”.
Kala disclosed that he has requested for a meeting with the chairman of the association of local government of Nigeria, Niger state chapter, with a view to proffer solution to their predicament but was yet to get any response to that effect.
He also described as unfortunate the reduction of their tenure from three to two years, pointing out that “I wonder what magic can someone performwithin two years. So if that is true, I want the house of assembly and the government to consider and add one more year to their tenure”.
He insisted that “local government is the most sensitive tier of government because it is the closest to the people. The two years is too short for them to perform”.
Also reacting to this development, the People Democratic Party (PDP) in the state described the non release of funds to the local government as an aberration, violation of Nigeria constitution and a contradiction to the administration’s “change mantra” slogan.
The Deputy Chairman of the party in the state, Barrister Tanko Beji challenged the governor tell the people how much has accrued to the 25 local government council in the last seven months, adding that “the governor should make public what has happened to the seven months allocations to the local government councils in the state and how much has been disbursed”.
All efforts to get the reaction of the state Commissioner for local government, community development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Abbas Kabiru Musa as he was said to be avoiding office because of pressure from local government staff who are yet to be paid their February salary.
posted by kalason2