Buhari seeks cooperation of local govts to tackle corruption
President Mumammadu Buhari has identified local government as critical stakeholders in the fight against corruption. The president stated this recently in Abuja while speaking at a national workshop on anti-corruption organised by the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).
Buhari, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund office, office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habiba Lawal, said the recent passage of local government autonomy bill by the National Assembly signals the restructuring process of the country.
He said: “Apparently, it is corruption that led to the relegation of the local government to the grips of the state government over the years thereby distorting and demeaning the real status of our federalism with regards to devolving governance. A once vibrant tier of government, which occasioned development at the grassroots, has gone into oblivion due to obvious reasons.
“The good news is that the disposition of the National Assembly in granting autonomy to this very important tier of government is an indication that we have started already to address the question of restructuring which many Nigerians appear to be clamouring for.
“I and my team are waiting patiently to receive the reports from the state Houses of Assembly so as to do the needful in the event that the current proposal for the review of the 1999 constitution (as amended) come to us for consideration and assent.”
The president said the fight against corruption has been daunting and that the outcome has been quite revealing.
He urged workers at the grassroots to support the administration in the fight, just as he acknowledged the role that whistle blowers have played in the anti-corruption war.
He said: “Individuals must be seen to be morally upright. Families must be willing to expose even their relatives found to be involved in corrupt practices.”
The President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, said the critical position of local government in the federal system presupposes that the development or otherwise of the country depends largely on the performance of that tier of government.
He said: “Sadly, the evidence of corruption in Nigeria particularly at the local government level appears to be eternal and its lingering effect has continuously bedevilled development at that tier of government which directly represents the people.”
On her part, the Regional Director of West Africa regional office of the United Cities and Local Government for Africa (umbrella bodies of Local Governments in Africa), Juliet Sale, plans are underway by the UCL Africa to create Africa Local Government Development Fund that will serve as a pool of resources to push local government agenda on the continent.
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