Senate Withholds Statutory Allocations To Unelected Local Govts

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Local government councils in Nigeria without elected heads have been banned from accessing statutory allocations from the Federal purse.

In a resolution on Friday December 1, the Senate mandated the Federal Government to withhold henceforth statutory allocations paid to local governments yet to have democratically-elected councillors and chairmen.

The resolution came on the heels of the passing of a motion sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (PDP-Benue) on “Urgent Need to Halt the Erosion Of Democracy; the Dissolution of Elected Councils in Benue.”

Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC-Edo) submitted that the Supreme Court had ruled that state governors had no power to dissolve elected local government councils.

Oshiomhole urged the Senate to prevail on the Minister of Finance not to release statutory allocation to unelected local government councils in the country.

In presenting the motion, Moro said that democratically-elected local government councils had been dissolved and replaced with caretaker committees by the Benue State Government.

According to him, mandating caretaker committees to head the local government represented an aberration that was alien to the 1999 Constitution.

He quoted the section of the constitutional that made it the responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of local government councils by law.

‘’There are subsisting court rulings directing the governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies, among others from tampering with the tenure of the elected local councils,’’ he said.

Supporting the motion, Senator Victor Umeh (LP-Anambra), said that Section 7 of the Constitution guaranteed that there shall be democratically elected officials of local government councils in the country, and that the emasculation of elected council officials for caretaker committees was a violation of the Constitution.

Umeh said that the National Assembly must protect the laws by defending the Constitution.

Senator Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) said the matter had to do with the Constitution, while urging the dissolved councils to seek redress in the courts of law.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio said that the dissolution of elected local government councils by state government was illegal.

The Senate urged Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue to restore the elected local government councils in line with the Constitution.

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