Groups seek council autonomy in constitution amendment
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), media practitioners, National Assembly and others have recommended that section 7 of the 1999 constitution should be amended to clearly define the status of the local government as a tier of government.
The group comprising Democracy Vanguard, the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) made the recommendation at a one day dialogue organised by the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with the theme ‘Strengthening Local governance for effective service delivery in line with the ongoing constitutional amendment exercise.’
In a statement signed by the NULGE president, Comrade Akeem Ambali Olatunji, NUT president, Dr. Nasir Idris and Chairman of Democracy Vanguard, Senator Bala Adamu, the group said the Constitution should be amended to ensure local governments are not subjected to the whims and earpieces of the state government.
Their words: “Section 162 of the 1999 constitution should be completely expunged, while provision should be made to allow local government allocation to be paid directly from the Federation account as first line charge.”
The bodies lamented rise in insecurity, encroachment of state government on the revenue of local governments as against the provisions of the fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution, over bearing influence of the state governors on the state Houses of Assembly among others.
They, therefore, suggested that local government autonomy should not be restricted to financing, but political and administrative autonomy too.
They added that local government system should be strengthened financially, politically and administratively to tackle the problem of insecurity and provide good governance.