By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Nigeria Finance Intelligence Unit’s (NFIU) new guidelines on disbursement of local government funds will uphold accountability of public funds at the local government level.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, said this, stressing that his concern has found support in the guidelines.
The NFIU guidelines direct state governors and local governments to follow the Constitution regarding disbursement of local government funds.
It should be recollected that Agbakoba filed a suit at the Federal High Court to stop allocation of public funds to unelected and unaccountable local government councils.
The basis of the case is that Section 7 (1) of the 1999 Constitution guarantees a system of democratically elected local government councils.
“But local government councils in Nigeria are never elected and are unconstitutional. Allocation of public funds to them is a violation of the Constitution, as there is no collusion with state governments in the use of trillions of Naira of public funds,” Agbakoba argued.
He raised concern that unelected persons have unimpeded access to huge monthly allocations that are actually funds intended for democratically elected local government councils, as guaranteed in Section 7 of the Constitution.
Agbakoba noted that Nigeria operates democratically elected governments at all levels.
According to him, “the current situation where most of the 774 local governments are unelected is not only unconstitutional but meant no development at the local governments.”
The senior advocate also noted that corruption is widespread in Nigeria because unelected persons that are not accountable to the electorate have received trillions of Naira of public funds.