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Senate Directs FG To Stop Funds Allocation To Unelected LG Councils

Senate moves against govs over local governments

The Senate on Friday intervened in the trend by state governors to dissolve elected local government councils and replace them with caretaker committees by asking the Federal Government to withhold the statutory allocations to such undemocratic councils.

The resolution was contained in a motion the Senate passed in Abuja at a session presided over by its president, Godswill Akpabio.

The motion was moved by the Minority Leader, Abba Moro (Benue-South), who drew the legislature’s attention to the decision of the Benue State governor, Hyacinth Alia, to dissolve the local government councils in the state.
The Senate also condemned “the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected local government councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria” and urged “the Federal Government to with- hold statutory allocations to local government councils not democratically elected.”

It specifically called on Governor Alia to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the country’s constitution by reviewing the dissolution of the councils.

The motion reads partly: “The Senate notes with dis- may the dissolution of democratically elected councils in Benue State.

“Also notes that placing caretaker committees to re- place elected councils is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“Aware that Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) guarantees a system of local government by democratically elected councils.

“Also aware that it is the constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of local government councils by law.

“Further aware that there are subsisting court rulings directing the governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies, etc, not to tamper with the tenure of the elected councils, and equally aware that the governor/ government of Benue State has not appealed these judgments and that it is against the grain of the rule of law.”

Lending his voice to the debate on the motion, Sena- tor Adams Oshiomhole (Edo- North) pointed out that around 16 states in the country were currently without democratically elected councils.

Oshiomhole said the Sen- ate should ask the minister of finance to stop funding local government councils that had no elected council officials.

The Senate Whip, Ali Ndume, and Senator Abdulfatai Buhari (Oyo North) also supported the motion.

Buhari called for the amendment of the Electoral Act 2022 to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct local government elections henceforth.

Senator Victor Umeh (Anambra Central), in his contribution, said the action of the governors had continued to undermine effective local government administration in Nigeria.

“Local governments have a constitutional guarantee to be run by elected officials. We all swore to uphold the constitution. This terrible emasculation of the local government system has given birth to the mismanagement of their resources,” Umeh stated.

Senator Akpabio, in a remark before putting the motion to vote, recommended the cre- ation of a national electoral commission for local governments.

According to him, this will curtail the overbearing influence of governors on council polls by determining who would become council officials.

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