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ARCHBISHOP ADVOCATES FULL AUTONOMY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, Most Rev. Mathew Ndagoso has advocated full autonomy for Local Governments in the country noting that this will enhance development at grassroots level and ensure proper accountability of funds allocated for grassroots governance in the country. Archbishop Ndagoso made this call during a recent chat with pressmen in Kaduna.

According to the Archbishop, the present arrangement by which local government councils chairmen are under the control of state governors and the allocations for council channeled through the state governments has not been beneficial to the council areas in terms of development. He noted that, the policy of local government councils’ chairmen being appointed by governors make them surrogates of the governors who remotely direct their performances and activities.

Expressing concern over the undue interference of state governors in the administration of local governments in the country, Archbishop Ndagoso noted that state governors have often deprived local governments of their legitimate funds and thus slowed down development in the local government areas.

The Archbishop while noting that the local governments are the closest to the people, pointed out that their autonomy in all ramifications, particularly in areas of funding, is the only way that development can reach the people at the grassroots.

He declared: “The way governors have handled local government issues in this country is very unfortunate. What has happened is that governors have decided to use local governments as they like and deprived them of funds in the name of joint accounts; so, we don’t have development in the local government areas. It is a way and means that has been used to steal public funds.”The Archbishop continued: “I really will like to call on our National Assembly; and we hear they are working on the review of the constitution, that the local government should be given their own autonomy. If monies are voted by the Federal Government for Local Governments, such monies should go directly into their accounts, so that, they can be held accountable”

He concluded: “But now they are just there. State Governors appoint them at will and sack them at will; they (governors) give whatever they want to give. Then often, the little that is given only goes for paying salaries and nothing is left for the development of the council areas.”

 


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