The national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), in it’s vigorous attempt to address the challenges plaguing Local Government administration, has reiterated the need for the abolition of the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) system and the importance of granting full autonomy to Local Governments in Nigeria.
The NULGE national president, Comrade Ambali Akeem made this known at a press briefing organised as part of activities to mark the first ever Independent National Women Conference of NULGE, at the NUJ Press centre, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State today.
Speaking on the challenges cramping the growth of Local Governments administration in the country, Ambali said the problem affecting local government has been that of paucity of funds in the system. He observed that, addressing the financial and political dependency of Local Government on States, was key to having a functional system.
“The local government has been raped over time. It has witnessed systematic destruction as a result of corruption and stealing of local government funds, thereby militating against progressive development at the grassroots level.
“To have a functional local government that can create employment opportunities for the youths and provide other basic amenities in rural communities, we need a politically-free and financially independent local government administration”, Ambali noted.
While alleging that the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) for states and councils has remained a channel for stealing funds meant for the third tier of government, Akeem condemned the practice of JAAC and calls for it’s immediate abolition from Nigeria’s Constitution.
“You cannot continue to retain a section of the Constitution that is not working…
“NULGE opposes the retainment of JAAC in the ongoing constitutional amendment in Nigeria and calls for it to be abolished”, he submitted.
The NULGE national helmsman noted that the actualisation of full financial and political autonomy for the third tier of Government, was the only solution in addressing myraids of challenges bedeviling Local Government.
He however dissuades possible fears linking local government autonomy with diversion of funds by local government Chairmen, stating that it was the duty of the in-house Union to hold every local government Chairmen accountable on issues of diversion and embezzlement of funds.
Comrade Ambali called on Nigerians, including Journalists as members of the Fourth estate to join the crusade of realizing a stronger, united and vibrant Nigeria with a functional system and responsible leadership where, the autonomy of the Local Government, Judiciary and Legislature is guaranteed.