Ibrahim Khaleel, the national president of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has described local government autonomy as critical for bringing about development and functional governance at community level and decried the fact that only 9 out of 36 states of the Nigerian federation had yet passed the bills granting local governments autonomy.
“Lack of local government autonomy is contributing to the insecurity challenges faced by our local communities as a result of gap that exists between the states and local communities. Our worry as NULGE is that a lot of citizens view this struggle for local governments’ autonomy as that of NULGE alone whereas it goes beyond that; it needs all hands on deck,” said Khaleel.
He was speaking Thursday at a one-day technical session on constitutional amendment for civil society, media and organized labour held in Kano; it was organized by the Engaged Citizens Pillar (ECP) of the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme of the UK Department for International Development (UK-DFID).
Also speaking at the event, former senator for Taraba north senatorial district Bala Adamu said, “When I was in primary school in 1964, the local government was very functional and dedicated to service delivery. As at then, we had free uniform, writing materials and feeding. But I regret to say that today; I cannot enroll my son in a public school because I will be unfair to him. It is as a result of lack autonomy that the local government administration is facing decay.”
PERL, a five-year public-sector accountability and governance programme, is facilitating civil society, media and organized labour groups’ engagement with the constitutional amendment process through the respective state houses of assembly in the target states of Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina and Kano respectively.
Stakeholders at the meeting resolved to earnestly engage the respective state houses of assembly to push for local governments’ autonomy since the state houses of assembly had only recently been granted financial autonomy by the federal government.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Kano State Universal Basic Education Board…