Bayelsa lawmakers under fire for voting against LG autonomy

Posted by News Express | 20 December 2014 | 3,539 times

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Civil society organisations in Bayelsa and the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in the state have criticised Bayelsa House of Assembly for rejecting local government autonomy.

The lawmakers had on December 16 voted against local government autonomy in ongoing efforts to amend sections of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. Bayelsa Chairman of NULGE, Mr Akpos Ekiegha, had on the day of the vote led some 500 council workers on a protest march to the Bayelsa House of Assembly to demand local government autonomy.

The CSOs and NULGE under the auspices of Bayelsa NGOs Forum (BANGOF) noted that the position of the State Assembly was at variance with the aspirations of the electorate.

Reacting to the development yesterday in Yenagoa, Chairman of BANGOF, Mr. Torki Dauseye, spoke of their conviction that local government autonomy is in the best interest of the people.

According to Dauseye, “BANGOF had earlier written to all members of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, stating our support for LGA autonomy, four-year tenure for LGA councils and the need for the Abolition of state INECs.

“We also expressly supported the need for State Houses of Assemblies to be financially autonomous.

“Therefore, we wish to categorically condemn the position of the Bayelsa State House Assembly on their rejection of long advocated Local Government Autonomy, abolition of state INECs and four years tenure of LGA administrations.”

Dauseye said that BANGOF believes that every democratically elected government, including states and local government areas, should have full autonomy within the ambit of the constitution as a federating unit.

“Our nascent democracy,” he said, “cannot attain to full maturity if local government area governance is stifled by the overbearing influences of state governments across the nation.

“The Federal Government has not proposed at any time to put state government under her control, why are the state governments continual desirous of controlling LGA councils in Nigeria.

“We are also very surprised that elected Houses of Assembly have not seen the danger of supporting their state governors in trying to kill LGA councils by rejecting LGA autonomy when the opportunity presented itself for them to correct this anomaly.

“Let it be on record that state Governments are doing to LGA councils what the Military did to Nigerian when they forcefully take over democratically elected governments and citing corruption and inefficiency.”

•Photo shows Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly

Source: News Express

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