.... Wants Contributory Pension Scheme Scrapped
. . . Demands Passing of Autonomy Bill
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the body. The feat was simultaneously celebrated across the 36 states and the FCT.
The Anambra State Chapter of NULGE had theirs at the Anambra State NULGE Secretariat, Awka.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the cutting of anniversary cake, the president of NULGE Anambra State, Comrade Jerry Nnubia, beckoned on the state Houses of Assembly that had not passed the Autonomy Bill, including the Anambra State House of Assembly, to as a matter of urgency do so without further delay in the interest of grassroots development.
Nnubia who called for a transparent public hearing on local government autonomy without hesitation in the state, said the passage of the bill would give room for inclusiveness, good governance, accountability and delivery of democracy dividends to the people at the grassroots.
On the challenges facing NULGE as a union and the local government system as a tier of government, the chairman said the 1999 Constitution (section 162) (6) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, provided for State Local Government Joint Account (JAAC), and the creation of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), saying that non recognition of Local Government Service Commission by the constitution had created a lot of loopholes that hitherto hindered the proper functioning of the local government system as a tier of government.
The NULGE president called for a law to prevent governors from hijacking funds meant for local governments.
He lamented that most state Houses of Assembly had been colluding with governors to misappropriate funds meant for local governments.
'The passage of the bill would give room for inclusiveness, good governance, accountability and delivery of democracy dividends to the people at the grassroots,' Nnubia said.
He blamed the problems in local government administration in the country on the constitution that provided a joint account with state governments.
The NULGE chief said, 'These provisions, among others, gave impetus to state governments to hijack the running of the affairs of the local government councils, including their finances, according to their whims and caprices.
'This has rendered the local government system very ineffective in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities to rural dwellers.'
Nnubia, who doubles as the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, called on the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, to scrap the Contributory Pension Scheme, saying the scheme had not benefitted workers in the state since it was put in place in 2014.
He said, 'The government has continued to deduct the salaries of workers in the state in the name of the scheme without remitting same and that of government counterpart contribution to the appropriate quarters,' he concluded.