The Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) said on Sunday that the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) had reported state governors who had been stealing local governments’ funds.
Also, NULGE has written a letter on August 9 to all the nation’s 774 local governments’ chairmen on August 9 to alert them to the fact that the governors might be planning fresh tactics to steal the LG funds.
It warned the council bosses and workers against helping the governors to steal the LGs’ money.
The National President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, disclosed state governments had come up with another means of siphoning money from the local governments’ accounts despite the NFIU financial guidelines.
The NFIU had directed the state governments to stop tampering with local governments’ funds.
The NFIU had on May 6, 2019 issued the ‘Guidelines to Reduce Vulnerabilities Created by Cash Withdrawals from Local Government Funds throughout Nigeria.’ By this, governors have been stopped from tampering with the funds meant for local government areas. The guidelines took effect from June 1.
But Khaleel accused the state governments across the country of forcing local governments to pay levies to them from the fund apportioned to the councils from the federation account.
He said local governments were being asked to contribute to the running of some projects in states which ordinarily were the responsibilities of state governments.
When contacted on Sunday on whether the council workers had reported any governor to the NFIU for the alleged diversion of the LG funds, the unit’s spokesman, Sani Tukur, confirmed the NULGE’s letter, adding that NULGE had reached out to the unit officially on the issue.
He however said he had not been fully briefed on the matter and as such could not give the names of the affected governors.
“I can confirm to you that NULGE has officially informed the unit of the development. I have however not been officially briefed on the matter,” he said.
A source in the unit however told one of our correspondents that the NFIU was working on an advisory that would address the concerns raised not only by NULGE but also by all other stakeholders.
The source added that it was in the interest of the local government officials not to oblige the governors any request that might put them in trouble.
He warned that when the anti-corruption agencies would begin to go after such local government officials, it would not be a tenable excuse that their state governors were the ones who directed them to carry out the illegal transactions.
When also contacted on Sunday, spokesman for the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdulrazaque Barkindo, said the issue raised by NULGE had not been discussed at the NGF meeting.
He said, “That issue has not come to the NGF meeting. Governors have not discussed that. You also know that the case is in court, so we are careful the way we talk on an issue that is before the court.” – Punch.