Labour stages protest to demand LG autonomy, says it will deepen democracy
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has staged a public demonstration to drive home its demand for complete local government autonomy.
The protest took place at the venue of a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and speakers of state houses of assembly held in Abuja on Friday
The governors and speakers converged to deliberate on topical national issues and challenges bedevilling the nation.
Members of the NLC gathered at the entrance of Fraiser Suites, the venue of the meeting, with banners and placards with different inscriptions emblazoned on them.
Speaking at the protest, Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, expressed dismay at the way the local governments in the country are being run, saying the protest is aimed at demanding a shift away from the way things are currently being done at the third tier of government and state judiciary.
He noted that the perennial insecurity that has enveloped the nation can be traced to lack of functional, strong and independent local government.
“All of us could recall that the issue of autonomy and independence for these three arms of government to operate independently has been an issue in Nigeria. And that has led to a lot of challenges,” he said.
“I can say as a matter of fact, that because the local government system is not working, that is why the security architecture of Nigeria today has collapsed.
“There is no security anywhere because that tier of government that should provide all the necessary information is not functioning”
He averred that hijacking the responsibilities of local government is one of the major reasons for the wave of rural-urban migration in the country
“Some of their responsibilities, including fixing roads and creating employment opportunities, have been taken over. And that is why you see people now moving en masse from the state capitals and the local governments to the city centres; it is a very chaotic process.
“We must put this to an end. We can have the system reversed because we have competent people, people well educated that are in our local governments, and that tier of government, if given the chance, it will be able to attend to all these challenges that now bedevil in development of our system.
“That is why we have taken it as a major campaign to every nook and cranny that every politician, be it chairman of a local government, be it members of the state assembly, must endorse this bill on the autonomy of the local governments.”
Wabba added that adopting autonomy for local governments and state judiciary will deepen the country democracy
“They must endorse this bill for the autonomy of the judiciary and they must endorse the bill for the autonomy of the parliament,” he said.
“If we destroy democracy at the local government level, then you are assured that what we are going to have at the centre will be a mirage”
The national assembly had, on March 1, passed the bill granting financial autonomy for local governments.
The bill makes provisions for each local government council to control funds allocated to it.
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