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Following the abuse and diversion of local government allocations, the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the state and local government joint account in the last 10 years.

The union made this known during its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.

NULGE argued that the diversion of local government allocations by state governors was solely responsible for the lack of development across the 774 local government areas in the country.

While charging Buhari to investigate the governors, NULGE National President Ibrahim Khaleel said: “Beyond fulfilling his promise to restore sanity in the operations of local governments by state governors, it is our belief in NULGE that Mr President should also use his administrative powers to appoint reputable auditors to carry out forensic auditing of state-local government joint accounts in at least the last 10 years.

“This is necessary since there is little or nothing on ground in the 774 local governments to show for the huge resources allocated to states over the years.”

NULGE also accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors Forum of deliberately undermining the local government autonomy bill through dubious political gimmicks.

Khaleel said: “The APC Governors Forum (or is it Progressive Governors Forum?) had engaged in a dubious political project under the guise of restructuring, in a committee chaired by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, made a recommendation based on a spurious broad national constitution that local governments should be removed from the constitution as a third tier of government.

“Just as we decided then not to dissipate our energy in taking Governor el-Rufai to task, we still maintain our position that this exercise by the APC governors was nothing but a charade.

“For us in NULGE, there is no better time and opportunity to achieve autonomy for the local government system in Nigeria than now!”

Khaleel also tasked state assembly lawmakers to expedite action on the bill, stating that: “With the signing into law of the financial autonomy bill by President Buhari, which effectively puts an end to the hegemony of absolute control of state legislatures by state governors, state lawmakers no longer need to fear or be intimidated in asserting the logic of the constitutional provision which empowers them to check the excesses of governors.”

The NULGE president also warned that should the passage of the Local Government Autonomy Bill fail, the union would mobilise its members in the 2019 general election to work against the political ambitions of elected officials who truncated the local government autonomy.

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