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NULGE takes battle for autonomy to Kwara Assembly; wants SIEC scrapped



By Arowona Abdulazeez
Local Government workers in Kwara under the auspices of National Union of Local Government Workers Employees (NULGE) on Thursday staged a peaceful protest to Kwara House of Assembly calling for total autonomy of Local Government councils in the country.

The workers, in their hundreds, were led by the  the National Vice President (South West), Comrade Oludare Famoofo and State Secretary, Comrade Hotonu Rafiu.

The workers were met by the Leader of the House, Hon Hassan Oyeleke, who told the protesting LG workers that the Speaker was unavailable.

Presenting the workers’ demand to the Speaker, Famoofo told the Speaker that Local Government workers were in the Assembly to present their position and demands regarding local government administration in the country.

He called on the members of the House of Assembly to support NULGE in its clamour to ensure total autonomy for the local governments in the country.

“NULGE wants all the contradictory provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended) that allow for the confusion and manipulation of local government system by state governments erased.

NULGE also insist on strict observance of the provision of section 7 especially the full observance of the provisions on democratically elected local councils.

“The constitution should be reviewed such that a provision caters for the areas of Structure, Functions, Composition, Establishment, Funding, Status and other matters that affect local governments, rather than delegating it to the state governments or Houses of Assembly,” Famoofo said.

He called for the total scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) in the state.

“The Constitutional provision on the existence and functions of the State Independent Electoral Commission should be expunged completely in the 1999 constitution because they have become the instruments of anti-democratic practices by the State government.

“Local Governments in the country are not appendages to any tier of government, but a constitutionally created third tier of Government in the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Famoofo added.

The workers called for the scrapping of Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) and payment of Local Government’s allocation direct from the Federation Account instead of through the State Government.

They also demanded for the stoppage of unconstitutional deductions from local government allocation and diversion of same for whatever purposes.

Famoofo described the funding of Junior Secondary School with Local government fund as unconstitutional and should be stopped forthwith.

He said the constitutionally mandatory payment of 10 percent of State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) should be paid to the local government while the state government should stop collecting revenue for local governments.

Hon Oyeleke, reacting to the workers’ demands said the House of Assembly was in full support of the demand for autonomy of the local governments in the country.

He said Speakers of the various Houses of Assembly have met severally and ave agreed to support the autonomy of the third tier of government.

Oyeleke said NULGE was actually fighting the war for autonomy for the House of Assembly as the House also wants to be autonomous of the Executive arm of the government.

He assured the workers that the Assembly will pass the bill when it is brought to the House.

Oyeleke also assured the workers that he will convey their message to the Speaker, Hon Ali Ahmad.

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