Stories by Moses John
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has commended the Supreme Court judgement against laws empowering state governors to sack elected local government chairmen in the country.
Speaking to our correspondent in Abuja, NULGE President, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, told our correspondent that the ruling would deepen the democratic process, especially from the grassroots.
He said, it has given hope for democracy to take root at the local government level, adding that the action of state governors at the local government areas has for long denied people at the grassroots their constitutional rights.
According to him, the local government had been denied development as well as their constitutional rights to elect their leaders as stipulated by the constitution.
He lamented that local governments have been at the mercy of the governors, who divert money meant for the operation of the councils and leave them without funds to pay workers’ salaries.
Khaleel stressed the need for total autonomy of local government in the country, adding that four-year renewable tenure for elected local government officials would go a long way to guaranteed the desire progress and development in Nigeria
The activist expressed concern over the inability of their members across the country to get salary for several months, running to seven and eight months in some states.
The state governments have seriously encroached on the resources of local government and it has affected the running of local government administration across the country.
“Communities and local government areas are underdeveloped because the state governors siphon allocations meant for their development. It has become expedient for the local government to have their accounts separated from those of the states,” he said.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement recently, nullified the provisions of the laws enacted by states’ House of Assembly that empowered governors to dissolve elected local government executives and replace them with caretaker committees.