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Collapse of local govts contributing to insecurity – Ex-officials

Posted by on September 14, 2021 0

The loss of relevance and usurping of administrative functions at the local government level by state governments has been ascribed as one of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria.

This assertion was alluded to during a radio current affairs programme in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on Tuesday by the duo of Femi Olanipekun, a former Deputy President of National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), and Barrister Akin Babatola, a retired Head of Local Government Administration in the state.

Speaking, the duo noted that the development was not peculiar to Osun and accused previous administrations in the state of unnecessarily interfering in the running of activities at the local government level.

They noted that as a result of the interference from the state government, local governments have collapsed and have not been able to meet up with the requirements of governance.

Olanipekun and Babatola argued that the 1999 constitution guarantees a local government but alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) policy sees it otherwise.

Babasola on his part accused the Osun State House of Assembly of complicity in not legislating on the local government autonomy bill and also maintained that there was a need to change the system.

While alluding to the fact that for a time, no federal allocation was coming to Osun State, he revealed that the only fund coming to the state was that of local government and the state having been indebted had to pay back the loan and from the local government funds allocated to the state.

While describing the local government as closest to the people, they both stated that this made the provision of amenities that will make the citizens enjoy the dividends of democracy one of the responsibilities of the third tier of government.

Olanipekun noted that amenities like health and environmental facilities, water, construction of rural roads to villages, hamlets and towns, maintenance of traditional systems, which is key to assurance of security, were not obtainable anymore because there were no funds to carry it out.

The duo stated that according to the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, land use charge, chlorination of water, building of classrooms blocks, markets and award of contact at the local levels also fell under the purview of the local government administration.

They alleged that a good majority of workers and qualified professionals at the local government levels have been made redundant because the state government has usurped their roles.

The duo debunked the allegation of corruption levelled against local government officials and maintained that it was minimal compared to other arms of government adding that the system was already corrupt.

They revealed that the system made it mandatory for each local council to operate within a certain spending limit which was lower when officials were appointed than when elected.

They appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to implement local government autonomy in order for the people to fully enjoy the dividends of democracy.

In the case of Osun, they also opined that the supervisory function from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs should be maintained.

The NULGE President, Olatunji Amabali, had in a national fora stated that the rise of insecurity in Nigeria can be attributed to the neglect and wanton usurpation of administrative functions at the local government level.

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