The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, and a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Social Action, have urged the National Assembly to expunge the aspect of the constitution limiting local government autonomy.
Ambali Olatunji, the President of NULGE said this at a rally on Thursday in Abuja, to press home their demand for unhindered local government autonomy.
He said such aspects should be looked into during the constitution review process, and be removed to allow the third tier of government to function effectively.
Mr Olatunji said that the system of government being practiced in the country gave too much power to the state governors while neglecting the local government being a tier of government too.
He said that upon several court rulings in favour of the operations of the local governments to make their laws and advance policies, the states had continued to display flagrance disregard to such court orders.
He said the state governments had refused the autonomy of local government because they were seen as slug funds, adding that governance in many states had become an avenue for impunities.
“The consistent interference by state governments in deciding who is elected into the local government was a major setback in having credible candidates to lead the affairs of local government councils in Nigeria.
“The states have taken over the ability of local governments to stand on their own in terms of acting or spending money,” he said.
Also speaking, Botti Issac, the Programme Coordinator for Social Action, said that the National Assembly should ensure that the local government was granted autonomy.
He urged lawmakers to ensure that any law hindering local government from functioning effectively was reviewed, adding that any constitution review that did not take care of local government autonomy was a fraud.
“We are saying enough is enough, the local government should function independently so that the corruption built around it can stop.
“Local government should be made to provide the needed infrastructure, some of our communities are in terrible state, no development.
“We are blaming the governors who have appropriated the power of the LG Chairmen to themselves,” he said.
The placards displayed at the rally read: “Governors and State Houses of Assembly free the LGs now’’!
“We demand open and inclusive budget for effective service delivery for Local Governments now’’, among others.