Professor Festus Imuetinyan, federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission, Abuja has called on the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to join hands with other unions and civil society organizations working for the amendment of the nation’s constitution to make the constitution truly federal.
Imuetinyan made the call on Wednesday in Benin City at the Edo State chapter of NULGE 2022 week celebration with the theme,”Sustaining an autonomous local government as a catalyst for national development: The role of NULGE”.
The university don opined that local governments will only become catalyst for national development when they are put in firm control over local affairs as well as encourage the emergency of local solutions to local problems.
He advocated that the local government matters must be removed from the national constitution and placed within the purview of the states to save them from the challenge of forced uniformity in the face of endemic diversity of local problems.
He added that NULGE, as the major trade union in the local government system in Nigeria, has a duty to ensure that the present unified local government system which is unwieldy is jettisoned.
“Unfortunately, many local government staff are beneficiaries of the present system and do not see any urgent need for changes.
“Your members are the ones that are made sole administrators when elected council heads are illegally sacked by state governments. Many enjoy posting to areas that they are not conversant with the custom and tradition of the people whose problems they are called upon to solve.
“Others are promoted in the face of inadequate utilization of available resources to manage waste and protect public utilities within their jurisdictions.
“It is often alleged that many of your members extort money from members of the public and that they enrich themselves at the expense of the development of the communities”, he said.
He further opined that the present local government system is not patterned to achieve any developmental goal rather than a smooth vehicle for the transfer of centrally collected funds to the pockets of States’ political elites.
Imuetinyan emphasized that the 1999 Constitution makes it possible for state governments to cripple Local Government Councils financially by routing the amount of money standing to the credit of Local governments in the Federation Account (FA) through a joint State Local Government Account rather than directly to local councils.
He asserted that the arrangement adversely affects the fiscal autonomy and viability of most local governments.
According to him, some state governors make inexplicable deductions or unduly delay the release of funds from the joint accounts to local government chief executives.
“Local government chairmen are bullied by state governors to surrender much of their statutory allocations under duress. When they fail; they find other ways to replace them with caretaker committees of selected loyalists.
“Expenditure and project discretion had become a thing of the past. Most states expect their Local governments to seek and obtain permission to embark on projects. Local government projects are inspected periodically by officials of state governments.
“More financial load has been placed on Local governments’ share of the Federation Account. For example, funds for primary school teachers’ salaries and pension charges are now charged centrally to the Local governments.
“The central deductions at source of these charges and several other unfunded mandates in environmental and social spending by the State Governments tend to leave many Local Governments with little funds.
“And unfortunately, many Local governments especially those in the rural areas have limited access to productive tax bases”, he added.
Court Stops PDP From Suspending, Expelling Governor Wike
Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court Abuja on Monday ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to take any action aimed at suspending or expelling Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike from the party.
The order was made upon an ex parte motion filed by Wike against the entire hierarchy of the PDP.
Respondents in the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023, dated and filed on February 2, are the PDP, its National Working Committee, National Executive Committee, National Chairman of the party Dr Iyorchia Ayu; PDP National Secretary Senator Samuel Anyanwu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
By the motion, the applicant is praying for an order to maintain the status quo and stay all actions in this matter relating to the threat to suspend or expel him, pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons.
Wike also asked for an order of the Court granting him leave to serve the motion on notice, originating motion, and all other processes of the Court in the suit on the 1st to 5th Respondents by substituted means which is pasting all the said processes of Court on the PDP National Secretariat.
The Rivers state Governor equally sought an order deeming such service as made above as proper service.
Upon reading the affidavit in support of the motion exparte deposed to by one Precious Ikpe and filed at the Court Registry and after hearing, the court granted the reliefs sought.
FG Pledges To Increase Minimum Wage Of Workers
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, says the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is committed to improving the minimum wage of workers to boost productivity.
Mustapha, who was the special guest of honour at the inauguration of Hassan Sumonu’ Court, said this in Abuja on Monday.
He said that the Buhari-led administration is concerned about improving the welfare of public service and had paid the arrears of retired Airways workers.
On the inauguration, he said that the two-storey building was a delight for the NLC and the entire workers.
”This achievements and legacies are for the Nigerian people.
”I commend the outgoing NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, for delivering the edifice that will yield additional income to the Congress,” NAN quoted him as saying.
Advise Buhari To Release Nnamdi Kanu, Ohanaeze Replies Malami
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-cultural organization, on Monday, urged the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami to advise President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Ohanaeze made the call in response to Malami’s remark that the Federal Government has not received any request for Kanu’s release.
Speaking with DAILY POST, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro lamented that Malami has advised the president wrongly on the release of Kanu.
Recall that Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State had urged the Federal Government to release Kanu to him.
Soludo had vowed to stand as surety to ensure Kanu’s release.
The IPOB leader has been detained by the Department of State Services, DSS, on the order of the Federal Government since June 2021.
Despite the court ruling ordering his release, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.
Malami had said the Federal Government was yet to receive a formal request for Kanu’s release.
However, Isiguzoro said Ohanaeze and some elder statesmen of the South East had met Buhari and requested Kanu’s release.
According to Isiguzoro: “Ohanaeze has put a formal request and paid a visit to the president which the Minister of Justice was present when the late Mbazulike Amaechi, Ezeife, Bishop Onuoha paid a visit to Buhari and requested that the best thing he can do for Ndigbo was to release Nnamdi Kanu to them.
“We want to tell Malami that the Federal Government through his department should stop playing the ostrich and come out boldly to tell us that they are not ready which they have shown in action but not in words.
“The body language of Mr President has shown that they are not ready to release Kanu having not obeyed the court order that granted his release. Malami should rightly advise the president to release Kanu.
“The body language of Malami has shown they have wrongly advised Mr President not to release Kanu based on reasons known to them. Such a situation of not obeying court order is aimed at instigating insecurity in the Southeast.”
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