The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has called for a probe into ‘illegal’ monthly deduction of N5 billion from funds allocated to local governments.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) are to investigate.
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NULGE alleged that Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), the umbrella body of all the local government chairmen across the country has been, in connivance with some state governors, withdrawing the funds without recourse to due process.
Speaking to journalists shortly after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja yesterday, the General Secretary of NULGE, Chukwuemeka Aguonye, said the illegal deductions and fraud are being carried out under the pretext of phony projects already undertaken in the past.
Aguonye noted that the NEC received reports from various states across the country on the level of corruption going on in the Local Government system being perpetrated under ALGON, saying such development has strangulated the third tier of government.
He said, “We were told that funds of various states in the federation are being depleted with phony contracts purportedly awarded by ALGON thereby making things very difficult for local government.
”ALGON cannot enter into a contract on behalf of any local government because ALGON is an association by chairmen of local government and caretakers. NULGE frowned at this because it has affected payment of salaries, implementation of programmes and policies that would have positive impact on the lives of Nigerian people.
”We said that this should be stopped, and we are calling on EFCC to probe where that fund is being diverted to. That project, that was purportedly carried out, that is not visible, that cannot be seen. We are therefore calling on the EFCC, ICPC and NFIU to probe the details of that phony contract because it is a fraudulent contract and that has affected local government.
”That is why we are concerned, there is no project on ground and they continue deducting the money. Even the variation they are collecting now, it is more, and higher than the price of the project that was not carried out, but has been deducted.
”The President is an anti-corruption crusader, he must come out and probe where the money to. When you continuously deducting N100 million, or N200 million from just a state, times 37, do you know how much that money is?
”And it is going down the drain, nobody is showing interest in it and the governors allowed this impunity to be going on in the system. So, NULGE is averse to this and we are not happy about it. It should be stopped immediately. President Buhari must ensure this is probed.
Citing examples, the NULGE scribe added that under ALGON, N107 million was deducted from the Joint Account Allocation meant for Ekiti State alone, while the sum of N163 million was deducted from money allocated to local governments from federation account.
Aguonye pointed out that the money has been deducted across all the states of the federation, except in the FCT where the deduction had been stopped. He added that the impunity must be stopped immediately.