The Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, has commended the Senate for proposing the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to scrap the State Local Government Joint Account.
Leonard Nkah, Ebonyi NULGE President, made the commendation on Sunday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
He was reacting to the Senate’s endorsement of the scrapping of the joint account in the proposed constitution review.
The House of Representatives had earlier endorsed the scrapping of the joint account in the proposed constitution amendment.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who head the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, had said that the joint account was abolished to ensure effective service delivery.
He also said the abolition was to “ rescue local governments from strangulation by state governors.”
Mr. Ekweremadu also said that Section 7 of the proposed amendment provided for a uniform of three-year tenure.
The section also provides that, “Local government without a democratically elected council shall not be entitled to revenue from Federation Account”
Mr. Nkah said that the Senate’s position was commendable, adding that the National Assembly, since 2003, had not disappointed on the issue of local government autonomy.
He noted that the local government system was emasculated after 2003, with governors opposed to granting of autonomy to the local governments.
Mr. Nkah said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should also be allowed to conduct local government election.
He appealed to state houses of assembly to support the proposed amendment to scrap the joint account, adding that an efficient and functional local government system would boost development at the grassroots.
Mr. Nkah also appealed to Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi, to ensure prompt payment of salaries of local government workers.
He regretted that local government workers were now the last to be paid month salaries.
“Even primary school teachers whose salaries are paid from local government funds are paid before local government workers,” he said.
He also appealed to Mr. Umahi to ensure humaneness in the handling of the salary issue.
“Our governor is doing well, but I appeal to him to ensure that local government workers are paid alongside other state workers,” Mr. Nkah pleaded.