* Says councils without democratically elected leaders shouldn’t get allocation
Human rights lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos, to stop allocation of public funds to unelected and unaccountable local government councils, running into trillions of naira.
According to Agbakoba, the basis of the case is that Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution guarantees a system of democratically elected government councils. But local government councils in Nigeria are never elected and are unconstitutional. Therefore, allocation of public funds to them is a violation of the constitution, as there is collusion with state governments in the use of trillions of naira of public funds.
The case raises concern that unelected persons have unimpeded access to huge monthly allocations that are actually funds intended for democratically elected local government councils as guaranteed by Section 7 of the constitution.
Agbakoba noted that Nigeria operates democratically elected governments at all levels. The current situation where most of the 774 local governments are unelected is not only unconstitutional but meant no development at the local government level.
Agbakoba 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.
Although the Federal Government denied the case, it appears that Agbakoba’s concerns have found support with guidelines recently issued by the Nigerian Finance Intelligence Unit (NFIU), which directs state governors and local governments to follow the constitution regarding disbursement of local government funds. Obviously, the new NFIU’s guidelines, like Agbakoba’s case, will uphold accountability of public funds at local government level.