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How to strengthen local council system, by experts

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Economic experts have insisted that rural communities in the country would remain undeveloped unless there is deliberate effort to change the way accounts of local councils are managed and run by council chief executives.

They stated that despite certain reforms that had been introduced in the third tier since inception of democracy, lack of transparency, accountability and prudent management of resources by officials of the councils had held sway and on the long run hindered development.

A development expert, Dr. Chiwuike Uba and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission’s (ICPC) Commissioner for Enugu State, Dr. Amedu Sule, declared that until local councils begin to appropriate the finances at their disposal prudently on human oriented programmes, the grassroots would continue to lag behind in democracy dividends.

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Sule, who spoke at a one-day sensitisation programme on “Accountability and Transparency in the local System” organised by a non-governmental organisation, Global Society for Anti- Corruption, (GSAC), for council chairmen, their deputies and Heads of Personnel Management (HPM) in Enugu State, stated that without improvement in the local council infrastructure, democracy would not take firm roots.

Uba, who spoke on “Transparency, Accountability and Quality Services Delivery in Local Government System,” faulted the idea of contracting council personnel functions to private firms and individuals, urging state governors and council chiefs to stop the trend.

The development expert and Founder, Amaka Chinwike Uba Foundation, also criticised the handling of local councils’ yearly budgets in secrecy by council chairmen, saying that such documents ought to be in public domain for accessibility by tax-payers.

Earlier, Programme Director of GSAC, Mrs. Amaka Nweke, explained that the exercise was designed to strengthen relationship, development and good governance in local council system in the state.

She said GSAC’s vision was to see a corrupt-free society based on integrity, transparency and accountability and to provide the platform to eradicate all forms of corruption and continuously strengthen integrity to help promote the good image of Nigeria to the world.

“Since 2006, we debuted as a non-governmental organisation with core interest in extending the frontiers of anti-corruption as well as educating the public on electronic frauds and other related vices. We have left no one in doubt about our commitment to ensuring that we deliver in accordance with our mandate.

“We have continued to educate the citizens on the implication of corruption and other related crimes, such as drugs and human trafficking, promote peace and amicable resolution of conflicts, as well as facilitate reintegration of discharged inmates of the correctional and rehabilitation services into the society, including legal services, among others,” she stated.

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Chiwuike UbaICPC
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