Local govt autonomy: 36 state assemblies support critical – PERL

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From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

For Nigeria to overcome its several challenges, lawmakers at the state level must do all they can within their powers to ensure total financial and administrative freedom for the local government in the ongoing constitution review, Kaduna Team Lead, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), Abel Adejor, has said.

The 9th National Assembly has passed the majority of the bills on priority issues canvassed by PERL and its partners in the ongoing constitution review process including the local government administrative and financial autonomy, aimed at improving the functionality of the LG system.

The bill seeks to create standard tenure for local government administrators, abolish the use of caretaker committees and Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC), create direct allocation, make special provisions for joint payment of teaching and non-teaching staff of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) by the federal, states and Local governments, hence, the need for state lawmakers to rectify the federal lawmakers’ effort.

PERL had engaged Kaduna-based journalists to mobilise critical stakeholders like media support for the ratification of constitutional amendment bills before the state assembly.

According to Adejor, the media would be expected to use their various platforms to engage critical stakeholders and mobilise popular support for the ratification of the Constitutional Amendment Bills before the state assemblies.

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‘This engagement will broaden the knowledge of media practitioners on the importance of the constitutional review, the proposed amendments and how they can play their quota to ensure ratification by the Kaduna State [House of] Assembly.

‘This is critical because the ratification of 24 states, representing two-thirds of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is required for the autonomy to become a reality, ‘Adejor said.

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Shedding light on why the state assemblies should quickly ratify the position of the NASS on LG autonomy and other similar bills, Team Lead of Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development, Yusuf Goje noted that strong institutions like LG were needed for any democracy to work effectively.

According to him, Local Government Administrative and Financial Autonomy are very critical in improving service delivery and general security at the local government level.

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