• Monday, July 15, 2024
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LG autonomy critical to address insecurity, development — RMAFC boss

Why local governments need freedom to deliver for Nigerians

Mohammed Bello Shehu, chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), has backed the Federal Government’s push for full autonomy for Nigeria’s 774 local government governments.

Shehu, in a statement signed by Maryam Umar Yusuf, the head of information and public relations, RMAFC, the local councils as the third tier of government, should be outside the control of the states, as they are established to ensure effective governance at the grassroots.

He said, “The constitution of Nigeria recognises federal, state, and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognised tiers of government draw funds for their operation and function from the federation account created by the constitution.

“The political control of LGCs has made it virtually difficult and almost impossible for the masses to decide who becomes their leaders at that level of governance, which is closest to the people.”

Shehu decried state governments’ dominance over LG affairs, which he said emasculates their political, administrative and fiscal independence and hinders their ability to deliver quality service in the area of infrastructure and social services to the grassroots as provided for in the constitution.

He explained that granting full autonomy to the LGs will reduce the rate of poverty and rural-urban migration, and bring more dividends of democracy to the people just as it will attract more qualified candidates for council elections that will improve the governance system at all levels in the long run.

“Full autonomy will engender good governance, transparency and accountability at the local level. Security challenges like banditry, kidnappings, terrorism, electoral violence, etc, would be reduced to the barest minimum if the quantum of funds meant for local governments is channeled towards rural development.

“This will raise agricultural productivity, increase income generation, arrest rural-urban migration, create wealth and generally improve the socio-economic living conditions of the rural populace,” he said.

The chairman posited that the current spate of insecurity in all parts of the country could be addressed if LGs are granted full autonomy as local government administration being the closest level of government for effective participation of the teeming population of the country in its governance system would avail the local population greater independence to determine their development needs.

He emphasised the importance of granting full autonomy to LGs, allowing them to recruit, manage staff, raise finances, make bylaws and discharge their functions without state government interference, thereby ensuring their full bureaucratic autonomy.