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Most Local Government Councils in North East operate separate accounts – NAN survey

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The survey conducted in Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, and neighboring Jigawa indicates that local councils now operate separate accounts through which they receive monthly allocations from the Federation Account.

In Borno however, there are questions as to whether the directives of the federal government had been implemented or not.

Some stakeholders interviewed said they are in support of granting financial autonomy to the third tier of government, while some expressed doubt as to the ability of the Councils to properly manage resources at their disposal.

Malam Nasiru Usman, Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Bauchi State, confirmed that the state government had commenced operating separate accounts for all the 20 local government councils of the state.

Usman told NAN in Bauchi that Gov. Bala Mohammed had issued a directive to that effect.

“We commenced operating separate accounts last month and all monies meant for local government councils were sent to their separate accounts,” he said.

Usman, who is the Head of Administration of Toro Local Government Council and also chairman, Caretaker Committee of the council, said local government election is yet to be conducted in the state.

Mr. Adamu Ibrahim, Secretary of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, (NULGE) in the state, confirmed the payment of allocation for the month of June into separate councils’ accounts.    

“The local Council in the state, as from last month started operating separate accounts through their Head of Administration,” he said.

He described the development as heartwarming, as it would unbundle the councils from the shackles of financial control by state governors. 

He commended the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) for barring commercial banks from allowing transactions from State Joint Local Government Accounts (SJLGAs) without monies first reaching a particular local government account.

In Adamawa, Mr. Hamma-Jumba Gatugel, chairman, the state chapter of National Union of Local Government Employees ( NULGE) also said that the local government financial autonomy is being implemented in the state.

Gatugel said that all the 21 local government councils in the state had opened their separate accounts.

“We have 21 local Government Areas in the state and all of them have opened their separate accounts as directed by the federal government.

” However,  we still attend the Joint Accounts meeting for the statutory deductions that include UBE, Primary healthcare, Pension, Traditional Council among others,” he said.

Also speaking on the autonomy, Mr. Abubakar Abdulsalam, the President of a Civil Society Organisation(CSO) in Adamawa, the Progressives Minds for Development Initiative (PMDI), described the situation as a welcome development that would address poverty at the grassroots and facilitate infrastructural development.

Abdulsalam said CSOs and other stakeholders needed to monitor the states to ensure proper implementation of the policy.

NAN reports that there are no elected council officials in Adamawa and the newly elected governor has appointed Transition Committees to oversee the affairs of the councils. 

Also commenting, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government, Gombe State, Mr. Mohammed Manu, also said the state government is in support of financial autonomy for local government councils. 

“ The state government supports all policies of the federal government because they are for the positive development of the country. 

“ All Councils in the state have separate accounts; there is no Joint Account; When the allocation comes, all Councils are remitted their share,’’ he said. 

The permanent secretary, however, expressed doubts over the initiative delivering on the purpose for which it is meant, adding that the huge debt profile of the Councils may impede its success. 

 

“Local government councils in Yobe are already autonomous, as they always have their monies given to them as soon as the federal government disburses the money,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Borno chapter of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Malam Mustapha Bulama, has called on the National Assembly to amend laws establishing State and Local Government Joint Account in the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2018, signed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill into law, separating the unit from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to enhance effective management of the local councils’ fund.

Bulama said the call was imperative to facilitate the successful implementation of the NFIU’s guidelines, which sought to grant financial autonomy to the councils.

While hailing the measure,  Bulama noted that effective legislations are necessary to enable the councils to manage their fund within the ambit of the law.

“The State and Local Government Joint Account was established within the provisions of the 1999 constitution.

“Any attempt by the councils to utilize the fund without required legislations amounts to gross violation of Constitutional provisions,” he said.

Bulama observed that funds are yet to be credited directly to respective accounts of Councils in the state in spite of the directive by the federal government.

He attributed the delay to the absence of relevant legislation granting financial autonomy to the councils and lack of elected political heads in the 20 local government areas of the state.

In his contribution, however, Mr. Jibrin Mohammed, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT)

in the state, said although granting Councils financial autonomy is laudable, the arrangement might result in hiccups in paying salaries of teachers.

He suggested that funds for payment of teachers’ salaries and implementation of school development projects be channeled through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

 On his part, Chairman of ALGON in Jigawa, Alhaji Aminu Sani, expressed reservations over the ability of Councils to live up to their financial responsibilities, even if granted financial autonomy.

Sani said the autonomy is accompanied by lots of responsibilities which most Councils might not be able to shoulder.

The ALGON Chairman said that after settling staff salaries, most local councils rely on the state government for funds to embark on development projects.

Gov. Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa said that he is in support of financial autonomy for local Councils, so long as they would not fail in discharging their financial obligations.

“I am not against the autonomy but my candid advice to them (Council authorities)  is that they must try to cut their coats according to their sizes in terms of employment, capital projects and other corporate social responsibilities.

“This is because the autonomy is coming with a lot of responsibilities as they are now going to collect their money directly from the federation account and as such, must account for all the monies they collected.

 

 

 

 

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Ikpeazu inaugurates committee on payment of salary, pension arrears

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Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Monday inaugurated an 8-member committee to articulate the modality for the payment of the arrears of salaries, pensions and allowances owed to civil servants and pensioners in the state.

Speaking during the event at the Government House, Umuahia, Ikpeazu said that his administration was committed to the welfare of Abia workers.

The governor, represented by his deputy, Chief Ude Oko-Chukwu, said that the administration was determined to maintain a robust relationship with the organised labour.

According to him, the task of taking the state to the next level of development is reliant on the contributions of workers.

He charged the committee to come up with modalities that would make nonpayment of salaries, pensions and allowances a thing of the past in the state.

He said that the committee had 14 working days to complete its assignment and hand in its commendation to the government .

Responding, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Onyii Wamah, assured the governor that the committee would work hard to evolve workable recommendations.

Wamah, who is the Abia Head of Service, said that the committee was poised to put an end to the issues of unpaid arrears of salaries, pensions and allowances.

Members of the committee on the government side included Mr Okey Ihedioha, Mr Kelechi Imeoria and Dr Anthony Agbazuere, a former state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Others were the leadership of the organised labour in the state, including the Chairman of NLC, Mr Uchenna Obigwe, Chairman of the Trade Union, Mr Sunny Onwuma, Chairman of the Joint negotiating Council, Mr Chris Okoro and Mr Umah Kalu.

 

 

 

 

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KDSG announces more appointments, redeploys Permanent Secretaries

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Gov. Nasir El-Rufai has approved the appointments of seven new Permanent Secretaries and senior officials for five agencies.

This was contained in a statement by

Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser, Media and Communication to the governor and made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Kaduna.

Among the new appointees is Dr. Aliyu Jafaru, whose appointment as commissioner was rejected by the Kaduna State House of Assembly for his social media criticism of El-Rufai.

Jafaru is now appointed as Deputy Director-General, Kaduna State Geographic Information System and will still face the Assembly for clearance.

The new Permanent Secretaries include Amina Adamu, Phoebe Sukai-Yayi, Bashir Umar-Lere, Sabiu Sani, Dr Haliru Soba, Amina Abdullahi and Muhammed Bashir-Umar.

Others appointed to various agencies are

Engr. Aliyu Salihu, Acting Director-General, Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority, Engr. Ahmed Munir, Director-General, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency and Abdullahi Sani as Chairman of SUBEB.

Also appointed for SUBEB are Mubarak Mohammed, Permanent Member, Project Management and Dr. Christy Alademerin, Permanent Member, Human Resources Management.

Meanwhile, Umma Aboki has been reappointed as Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency.

The government has also announced the deployment of all permanent secretaries in the state civil service.

According to the statement, Nuhu Buzun​​​ has been deployed to Cabinet Affairs; Adamu Mansur​​, Human Services and Social Development and Stephen Joseph​​​Environment.

Others are Habiba Shekarau​​​, Housing and Urban Development; Mahmoud Yamusa​​​, Planning and Budget;

Aisha Mohammed​, General Services; Musa Adamu,​Local Government and Ibrahim Jere​​​, Public Service Office.

Also deployed were Mohammed Shuaibu​, Health; Murtala Dabo​​​​, Finance; Chris Umar​​​​, Justice; Umar Ibrahim, Sports Development; Amina Adamu​​​​, SUBEB; Phoebe Yayi, Education; Bashir Lere​​​, Public Works and Infrastructure, and Sabiu Sani​​​​, Agriculture.

The rest include Dr Haliru Soba, Business, Innovation and Technology; Amina Abdullahi​​​, Establishment; Muhammad Bashir-Umar, ​​Civil Service Commission and Umma Ahmed​​​, as Director-General, Quality Assurance Authority​.

HUM/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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Gov. Yahaya visits flood-ravaged communities in Gombe, pledges support

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Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has visited flood-ravaged communities in Nafada and Dukku Local Government Areas as a result of over flow of River Gongola, following heavy downpour on Friday.

Yahaya, while speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Nafada in Nafada Local Government area of the state, assured the people of the affected communities of his administration’s commitment to their wellbeing.

He added that the state government would offer assistance to minimise the suffering of the affected persons and also ensure that the attention of relevant agencies was drawn to the roads washed away by the flood.

“We are aware of the damage on these communities as we have earlier directed concerned agencies to do an assessment of the effect of the flood on the communities and farmlands, for necessary actions.

“We are concerned and we will also make provisions to assist the farmers. We are not paying them everything but at least, we will give them support for them to pick up again,” he said.

The governor, however urged the people to desist from clogging the drains and also learn to adhere to building codes, adding that it was wrong to build on drainage channels.

He also advised them to cultivate the habit of planting trees to mitigate other environmental challenges which the communities were facing.

Yahaya, who visited the victims of the flooding, made personal donation of N1 million each to support those from Nafada and Dukku Local Government Areas.

Earlier, Alh. Muhammadu Hamza, Emir of Nafada, thanked the governor for personally coming to do an on-the-spot assessment and to sympathise with the people of the communities.

Hamza lamented that several farmlands were washed away by the flood, adding that this was a threat to food security, in view of the agricultural potentials of the affected communities.

He appealed to the state government to do all within its powers to address the issues by coming to the aid of the farmers, adding that most of them lost their farms and households.

The traditional ruler also appealed to well-meaning individuals to donate towards alleviating the sufferings of the people whom the disaster had wreaked havoc in their communities.

Also speaking, Alh. Haruna Rashid II, Emir of Dukku, appreciated Gov. Yahaya for coming to see things for himself.

He added that such visit would go a long way in assuring the people of government’s commitment to addressing their plights.

Edited by Chioma Ugboma and ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

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Abia council workers protest non-payment of salary arrears, leave allowances

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Workers in Umuahia North Local Governnent Area of Abia on Monday protested the non-payment of their four-month salary arrears and leave allowances.

The angry workers, numbering at least 200, locked the main gate to the council headquarters located on Bende Road, chanting anti-government songs.

The protesters called on the Federal Government and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to come to their rescue.

They barricaded the main entrance to the council, displaying placards with different inscriptions, including “We have not received our leave allowances 2014, 2018, 2019.”

“NFIU should come and rescue us;” “Our allocation has been tampered with and our salaries not been paid by Abia Govt.”, among others.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the protest paralysed official activities in the council.

In an interview with newsmen, Mr Dick Nwosu, the Chairnan of the National Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE) in the council, expressed deep worry over the plight of workers as a result of the development.

He said: “For four-and-a-half months, we have not been paid. We are owed by government. Let them come and pay us.

“We are suffering. Our 2017, 2018, 2019 leave allowances have not been paid to us. We are human beings.

“Most of us have families and it is painful that we cannot afford to take care of them, yet we are working.

“The allocation has been coming from the federal government as and when due. Then what is holding the salaries?”

Nwosu said they were not fighting the council because it was still operating Joint Allocation Account Committee (JAAC) with the state.

“We are only asking them to pay our salaries and allowances,” he said.

When contacted on the cellphone, the Transition Committee Chairman of the council, Mr Kelechi Ezechukwu, said he was not disposed to comment on the issue.

Reacting to the development, the Commissioner for Information, Mr John Okiyi, told newsmen that the matter was purely that of the local government council.

He said that the state government had nothing to do with the salaries of council workers, pointing out that local governments had become financially autonomous.

“The report we have received from the local government chairman is that he was going to pay them one month salary, meaning that they are being owed only three months,” Okiyi said.

LEO/USO

(Edited by Sam Oditah)

 

 

 

 

 

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Monach advises APC on choice of candidate for Kogi gov poll

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The Ohinoyi Ebira, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim has advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) to let the interest of the peope guide its choice of candidate for the Nov. 16 governorship election.

He made the charge in Okene on Monday while receiving retired Admiral Usman Jibrin, a governorship aspirant of the party in his palace.

Ibrahim also warned the party to guide against in fighting, saying it would amount to self destruction.

“The APC hierarchy should come together, resolve the differences among members and righteously come out with the most credible candidate to represent the party at the polls.

“APC should avoid in fighting, sit down and resolve the problem. Be righteous in your choice, for righteousness exalt a nation. You should ask for nothing but the best for the state,” he said.

Ohinoyi lauded Jibrin for his love for the state and the citizens, saying that he came from a disciplined professional background where nothing but the best was accepted and celebrated as the norm.

“Many of the ex-military officers holding brief on different assignments are doing their best in the country. This is because in military, best is meant for the best, ” he said.

He implored the APC aspirant to be positive, decisive and prayerful and not to see other aspirants as enemies but as brothers.

Earlier, the APC governorship aspirant had told the monarch that he joined the race in response to many distress calls from different parts of the state.

”Distress calls by the people on the challenges bedevilling the state forced me out of retirement to embark on this rescue mission.

“My people have suffered enough, I came from a profession that detest non-payment of salary. It’s only in Kogi that payment of salary is seen as an achievement.

“The Federal Government has been releasing funds to the state in different ways, besides the statutory funds, but unfortunately nothimg on ground to reflect this,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the APC primary election to decide the party’s standard bearer in Nov. 16, guber poll is slated for Aug. 29.

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