Buhari backs agitation for local government autonomy

Buhari backs agitation for local government autonomy
September 16 10:28 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari  on Thursday said his administration 
will support a constitutional amendment that will give local governments independence from states.

President Buhari made his position known when he
 received the leadership of the Association of Local
 Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) at the State House, Abuja.

According to a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President told the ALGON leadership 
that the amendment, when carried out, would better the
 lot of Nigerians at the community level.

He stressed that
 a constitutional amendment was urgently required to
 clearly define the relationship among the three tiers of
government.

He described the frosty relationship between states and
 local governments as “very serious constitutional
 problem.

“The relationship between the three tiers of government is 
not a very nice one, especially that between the local
governments and the states. “The states feel like they
 own the local governments if they are of the same party.

It is worse if they are not. “This is a very serious
 constitutional problem and unless there is absolute clarity
 and transparency, the relationship will continue to be
 exploited against the interest of the ordinary people of the
 country.”

Buhari advised the ALGON executives to hold
 consultations with their people and lawyers with a view to
 presenting a bill that would seek constitutional
 amendment to free the councils from the strangle hold of
 the states.

He said “this will limit the damage they can do 
to you. The quicker you do this the better, so that you can 
help your people much more.”

He acknowledged the request by ALGON for the release of
 3.2 billion dollars wrongfully deducted by Federal
Government for the final settlement of foreign debts in 
2005.

President Buhari said the government recognized
 the judgment debt but the timing of the request for its 
repayment was wrong, given the current economic 
situation in the country.

In his remarks, the acting ALGON National President,
 Alhaji Ibrahim Karaye, presented a six-point demand to 
the President, which included the repayment of the 3.2
 billion dollars debts.

He stressed the need to ensure the 
sovereignty of local government administration in the
 country.