Some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) have called on state governors to allow local governments have access to their funds unhindered.
The legal practitioners who spoke to LEADERSHIP accused the governors of tampering with local government funds.
According to them, the action of the governors indirectly hinders development in the state.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari on Arise TV accused governors of embezzling local government allocations.
Mr Abdul Balogun, SAN, said unknowingly to the governors, their actions do not allow LGs to develop in the country.
He said going by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the local government is the third tier of government, which should function independently.
‘’But unfortunately, the reverse is the case. The governors flout the law they swore to uphold by tampering with not just the funds but local government administration in the country’’, he said.
Another senior lawyer, Salisu Abulu, blames the governors for the rot in the local government areas in the country. He said the local governments have been reduced to nothing. To him, apart from paying salaries from the allocation that comes from the federal government, the local government chairmen embark upon no meaningful project.
He said, ‘’Apart from payment of salaries, the local government chairmen cannot embark on any meaningful project because the allocation that should be given to them is cornered by the governors before it gets to them.
‘’It is unfortunate that most of the states in the country are not viable and that’s why they rely on local government funds. I think the federal government needs to do something urgent to protect the LGs, if development will get to the grassroots.’’
Bamidele Olatunji, a Kaduna based lawyer buttressed he arguments of Balogun and Abulu. He said the law should be strengthened to empower the local government areas to get their funds directly from the federal allocation.
He said, ‘’But unfortunately, the government at the state level will frustrate any attempt to make the local government truly autonomous.
‘’If the government at the state level desire a good society, they must do the right thing by allowing the local government to function according to the constitutional provisions.’’