NULGE gives reasons for backing FG’s lawsuit against states on LG autonomy

From Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri

The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, has explained its support of the Federal Government’s litigation against the 36 state governments over financial autonomy of the local governments in the country.

State President of NULGE, Imo State branch, Comrade Charles Okechukwu Okere, gave the clarification weekend while speaking during an interactive session with journalists from his Ngor Okpala LGA extraction who paid him a courtesy visit at the union secretariat, Owerri.

Okere identified insecurity, degradation of the local government system, little or no infrastructural projects in rural communities, morale loss among staff of the LG system as reasons NULGE is totally behind President Bola Tinubu’s administration on the issue of LG autonomy.

He lamented that many staff of the LGAs, especially those in remote area, find it difficult to go to work because of prevailing insecurity, dilapidated roads and high cost of transportation among other challenges.

The state president further remarked that autonomy of local governments will guarantee security in the localities, improve microeconomic growth and development and enable the council areas address their respective infrastructure needs based on their peculiarities.

According to him, his coming to office was spurred by the earnest desire to serve, execute landmark projects like completion of the state secretariat, remedy the appalling decadence in the local government system and restore the lost dignity of council workers.

He disclosed that his team met on assumption of office, several challenges and has started tackling them headlong particularly the issue of non payment of salaries and recalling of those tagged irregularly employed staff by a verification panel report.

Describing Governor Hope Uzodimma as a listening leader, Comrade Okere noted that most of the union’s requests on how to address the lapses in the council system are receiving desired attention.

His words, “Our major challenge now is to bring back those tagged irregularly employed to the payroll. There is a lot of unemployment in the land and we are not going to allow more people be thrown into the labour market.

“Again, LG system, mostly those who are not within and around the state capital find it difficult to go to work because of insecurity, that is why the union is supporting the federal government’s lawsuit against the states on LG autonomy.

“Some LG staff till today have not been paid salaries and government said they are being owed because a verification report declared them irregularly employed staff. Some of them have worked for over 20 years.

“When we approached the governor, he said it was a report from a constituted panel but we continued to press that the affected staff be retained and paid because of the far-reaching economic hardship it will inflict on them and their dependants, even as we don’t support irregularities in the system.

“In our bid to ascertain the true position of some of the purported irregularly staff, we discovered that the verification report is not entirely correct. Some of them are not irregularly employed. So we have suggested to the governor to carry out another verification because on our own as a union, we did a verification and discovered that those they call irregularly employed staff have since absconded after the report came out but the lot who are around and still working are not irregularly employed.”


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