The Bayelsa state government has disclosed that it is currently one of the few states in the country that has granted full autonomy to its local governments and other arms of government to function independently.
The State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who made the disclosure when he received the National President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Comrade Akeem Olatunji-Ambali, in Yenagoa. said the clamour for financial autonomy for the local councils is in line with the principles of rule of law and separation of powers.
He said the state government had since given its approval of financial autonomy to the councils, and therefore, does not in any way tamper with local government funds.
“We have not only exercised autonomy for our local government system here but also addressed several issues people are protesting for elsewhere. In Bayelsa, we have autonomy for the Judiciary since 2013 and the House of Assembly in 2019.
“Bayelsa State is one state where we don’t tamper with local government funds. As the funds come, the chairmen meet with the state at the Joint Allocation Committee, JAC, and what we do is to approve the JAC figures and they go back to dispense. “Only recently, in addition to what we are giving to the local government for the payment of primary school teachers, we have just decided to give another N252million as support to councils.”
The deputy governor, however, urged NULGE to take the issue of reforms in the local government system seriously with a view to addressing the excesses of some council chairmen and for the overall benefit of rural dwellers.
In his earlier remarks, the NULGE president, Comrade Olatunji-Ambali, explained that his team was in the state in continuation of the union’s nationwide advocacy campaign for local government autonomy.
He described the local government as the most strategic, relevant, and direct system of government that must be accorded its pride of place in the country to positively impact the masses