Niger, NLC Set To Clash Over Local Govt Autonomy | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Niger, NLC Set To Clash Over Local Govt Autonomy

Posted: Apr 28, 2016 at 12:07 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chinwendu Nnadozie

Minna – Governor Abubarkar Sani Bello of Niger State’s declaration granting full financial autonomy to all the 25 Local Government Councils in the state, effective next month, may mark the beginning of a sour labour- government relation in the state.

Bello, at the first stakeholders’ town hall meeting which took place at the Idris Legbo Kutigi international conference centre, Minna, on Monday, declared his administration’s resolve to hands off anything that has to do with local government council funds, and this has not gone down well with the state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Governor Bello had told the well attended meeting that, effective May 1, 2016, each Local Government Area would receive its allocation directly, spend same as it deems fit, and be ready to render account to the people when the need arises.

Investigation has however revealed that Organized labour in Niger state is not comfortable with the state government’s resolve as, according to them, it would encourage corruption among council officials.

It is also found that local councils not financially endowed will perpetually face funding crisis if the councils are to receive their funds directly.

Some respondents who spoke to Independent expressed fears that workers may lose their jobs in such Council Areas that are not buoyant because of obvious shortfall especially for paying salaries.

Attendant rural-urban drift by workers in search of greener pasture may over time compound revenue generation of such council areas, worsening capacity to augment whatever is coming from the federation account.

“What government is about to do will breed corruption in some council areas that presently has capacity to generate it’s own funds and it will be difficult to check what they are doing. In order to survive, people will be moving to local government councils that are richer creating more problems in these council Areas”, one of the stakeholders said.

Meanwhile, Comrade Idris Ndako, the NLC Chairman in Niger State, told journalists shortly after the town hall meeting that, labour unions in the State are not in agreement with government’s decision and would, ‘do something about it’.

Comrade Ndako expressed fears that policy of the new administration in Niger State may spell doom, saying that organized labour in Niger state “are not in support of the autonomy for Local Government Councils”.
“Some local government councils cannot be eating and getting fat while others will not eat at all”, Ndako said, adding that the NLC, Trade Union Congress and other affiliates will be meeting very soon to come out with a position that would be given to the state government.