N3.3tr squandered by LG chairmen in 8 years



 

THE SUN

 

N3.3tr squandered by LG chairmen in 8 years – EFCC

From LAMBERT TYEM, Abuja
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

 

Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, yesterday revealed that the over N3.313 trillion funds allocated to the 774 local councils in the country in the past eight years was a colossal waste.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the startling revelation by the Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, on unremitted N1.5 trillion revenue generated by NNPC into the Federation Account in the last 10 years.

The EFCC boss, who was speaking to 112 local government chairmen at the 2nd EFCC-ALGON workshop on Accountability and Transparency in Local Government Administration in Abuja, noted that the funds allocation to the councils from June 1999 to June 2007 was enough to develop the whole nation if well managed.

She, however, said that the argument that services at the grassroots cannot be achieved due to shortage of funds does not hold water anymore, adding that corruption is the main reason for not achieving development at any level of governance in the country.

According to Waziri, “figures available to us by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, from June 1999 to June 2007 a whopping N3, 313,534,856,541.79 was allocated to local government councils. She alleged that corruption is the major reason why local governments appear to be failing the people, at the local government councils.
“The problem of corruption at the local government level is everyone’s problem. If we fail at this foundational level, we would have failed at all levels, because the local councils contain nearly Nigeria’s entire rural majority.

“In tracing the origin of illicit funds, we investigate and prosecute money laundering. Unfortunately, local government officials have not left their hands unsoiled in this regard,” the EFCC boss stated.
She, therefore, called on the council chairmen to join hands with the commission in its new assault against corruption and economic crime, stressing that an anti-corruption revolution will build a new generation of Nigerian. She added that the war is also aimed at stigmatising corruption through the mobilization of communities and societies consciousness that give abusers of office the image of public heroes and not criminals.

Speaking in the same vain, Katsina Governor, Barrister Shehu Shema, and his Plateau State counterpart, Chief Jonah Jang, who were special guests on the occasion, thanked the organisers of the workshop and noted that corruption is the bane of our development and if allowed to stay will be the mother of all enemies of humanity.

Jang, who lamented the level of decay in the local government system in the country, however, said he once advocated for the scrapping of the third tier of government, pointing out that it has outlived it usefulness with the departure of colonial administrators.

 

 

PUNCH

 

EFCC wants LGs to account for N3.313tn

function submitCCCForm(){ PopUp = window.open(”, ‘_Icon’,’location=no,toolbar=no,status=no,width=650,height=550,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes’); this.document.cccform.submit(); }

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi and Sunday Aborisade

Published: Wednesday, 27 Aug 2008

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, has charged local government councils in the country to explain the mismanagement of over N3.313tn allocated to them in the last eight years.

 

Also, the Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Jonah Jang, said that the local government administration in the country constituted a huge drain-pipe.

He noted that many local government councils could not account for the huge monthly allocations they received from the Federal Government.

Waziri and Jang spoke on Tuesday at a national workshop on Accountability and Transparency in Local Government Administration, organised in conjunction with the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria in Abuja.

Waziri said the commission would introduce sanctions for violators of public morality.

Quoting figures obtained from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Waziri noted that from June 1999 to June 2007, “a whopping N3, 313,554,856,541.79 was allocated to the local government councils across the country.”

She said, “Unfortunately, local government officials have not left their hands unsoiled in this regard.

“It is with regret that I am forced to observe that the local governments of the good old days have become a mere memory of times gone by.

“The paralysis that pervades local governments today is widespread. Local governments have become so far removed from the lives of the people to a point where some chief executives of local councils no longer reside in the domains they were elected to administer.

“They drive to the council headquarters in their jeeps from the state capitals or the Federal Capital Territory, pay salaries and share other monies and disappear until it is time to share the next subvention.”

Waziri lamented that the “disconnection between the government of the people and the grassroots” was happening at a time that huge volumes of public funds were allocated to local government councils.

According to her, the old argument that services cannot be delivered to the grassroots because of shortage of funds does not hold water anymore in the face of so much subvention from the centre.

She said, “The problem of corruption at the local government is everyone’s problem. If we fail at this foundational level, we would have failed at all levels; because the local councils contain nearly Nigeria’s entire rural majority.”

The Chairman of ALGON, Mr. Jalo Dasuki, said the local government councils were ready to cooperate with the EFCC towards entrenching effective monitoring mechanism in the budgeting and implementation for infrastructure development in the councils.

Jang, however, advocated for the return of the financial instructions document in the processes of governance in the country.

According to him, “The introduction of the development areas by past administrations, which was just an avenue to settle the boys for their political patronage, was a huge drain on the resources of government.”

Also speaking at the event, The Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Shehu Shema, said that Nigeria as a country was not corrupt, rather certain features of the political and economic systems had made it possible for corruption to thrive.

Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has said it will involve National Youth Service Corps members and non-governmental organisations in its proposed plan to investigate the activities of the 774 chairmen of the local government councils.

The Chairman of the commission, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, stated this in Ibadan on Tuesday while declaring open the 2008 national conference of anti-corruption committees in the Nigerian legislature and heads of anti-corruption units in government establishments.

He said the ICPC was already discussing with the authorities of the NYSC to release corps members that would assist the agency’s personnel in their movement from one council to another.

Ayoola said, “Very soon, the ICPC will inaugurate the Local Government Integrity Initiative, which will support and monitor mechanisms by which the local governments will be seen to be more prudent in the use of revenues accruing to it.

“The NGOs should partner with us to provide us with expertise in financial management. We are not going to the local government with a notion that they are not honest or going there to tell them that they embezzle money.”

 

Opt In Image
Send Me Free Email Updates

(enter your email address below)

Leave a Reply

*

Home | About | Contact | Login