Withhold funds to unelected councils, Reps tell FG

Leah TwakiJuly 10, 20242 min

Local government councils run by unelected officials risk losing statutory fund allocations from the federal government

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The House of Representatives has advised the Federal Government to withhold fund allocations to local councils operating under unelected officials.  

The House’ decision came after a motion of urgent importance sponsored by Rep. Gaza Jonathan (SDP Nasarawa) and Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC Lagos) was adopted at plenary on Tuesday.

The motion is titled “Urgent Need to Address the Refusal of State Governments to Uphold Democratic Principles in Local Governments and the Financial Impropriety of Unelected Local Government Officials,” 

The House urged the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to create a special account for statutory allocations due to local governments run by unelected officials. The federal lawmakers also called on the Attorney-General of the Federation to initiate legal action against any state that terminates the unexpired tenure of elected local councils.

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Leading the debate, Reps. Jonathan and Kuye emphasized that “Section 7 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, as amended, mandates state governments to ensure the existence of democratically elected local government councils. It also obliged state Houses of Assembly to legislate on the establishment, tenure, structure, composition, finance, and functions of these councils.” 

The legislators stressed that local governments form the foundation of both state and federal governments and are the closest tier to the people. They highlighted that the dissolution of democratically elected councils contravenes Section 7 of the Nigerian constitution and Supreme Court rulings, representing a deliberate affront to democracy.

The duo pointed out that the number of states acting with impunity and in disregard of the constitution continues to increase, with not less than 21 state governors currently running local government councils with caretaker committees. They described this trend with a detrimental impact on democracy, accountability, transparency, and the developmental potential of local governments.

In adopting the motion, the House mandated its committees on state and local government affairs and finance to collaborate with the RMAFC to withhold allocations to local governments run by unelected officials. 

Leah Twaki

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