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Benue APC, PDP disagree over rejection of LG autonomy bill

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State on Monday accused each other of scuttling the passage of…

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State on Monday accused each other of scuttling the passage of the Local Government Autonomy Bill at the state’s House of Assembly.
Our correspondent reports that the Benue State House of Assembly last week voted against local government autonomy which drew criticism from the opposition APC and Labour Party.
The opposition parties have severely castigated the Speaker of the Assembly, Titus Uba, who is the governorship candidate of the PDP.
However, the APC on Monday in a statement signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Daniel Ihomun, noted that the PDP controlled assembly was “callous, undemocratic and insensitive” to the plight of the grassroots when it rejected the local government autonomy bill.
“Over the years, the local government system in Nigeria has been gagged by state governors across the country. Local governments, therefore, have been unable to carry out their roles as specified in the Nigerian constitution, thereby reducing their powers, performance and development at the grassroots.
“The local governments have become like bureaus, departments and agencies of the state governments and governors have turned the local governments into  milk factories.
“They do not only appoint their cronies as transitional/caretaker chairmen (which is unconstitutional), the State and Local Governments Joint Account which was created to share Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)  collected by the states on behalf of the local governments has become the umbilical cord used by the state governments for suckling Local Government Allocation sent from the Federation Account.
“The  deliberate refusal by Hon. Titus Uba led Benue State House of Assembly to liberate the local government system from the draconian grip of governors shows it’s disdain, lack of empathy and concerns for the development of the Local Government Areas and the people at the grassroots.
“Benue people are still shocked over the reported deduction of N49million from local governments in Benue state for each unit of the Refurblished Hilux Vans donated to council Chairmen and another N92m  per month for domestic security outfits (4Millon per Local Government )
“The State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA are provided with about N460m  per month for IDPs ( N20m per LG ). These are monies that are  unaccounted-for with other unnecessary deductions from the local governments coffers,” the APC alleged.
But, in a swift reaction, the PDP’s State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, lambasted the APC over its failure to get two third of the states to vote in favour of the bill.
Iortyom contended that the minority votes of the PDP controlled states assemblies both in 2018 and 2022 failed in getting the bill passed into law owing to lack of support from APC controlled states.
“Benue PDP holds that it is APC with majority control of the legislative arms of government, both at the national and state levels, that stands as an obstacle to Local Government Autonomy.
“On the other allegations bothering on theft of public funds levied by Benue APC against the Ortom administration, which are quite weighty and construed punishable offences under law, we will be requiring the opposition party through its agents who levelled those allegations to prove same, and this we will call for in subsequent correspondence,” the PDP added.