The chairman of the Enugu State Local Government Service Commission, Hon Chukwuemeka Isaac Nwatu, Friday, called for more allocations to local government areas in Nigeria to make them more effective. According to him, states and local government areas should get more allocations ahead of the federal government.
Hon Nwatu, who is also the chairman of the Association of Chairmen of Local Government Service Commissions of Nigeria, stated this in an exclusive interview with THE WHISTLER in Enugu. According to him, “What they should do is to give more money to the LGAs. That is the solution. Nigeria is a mono-economy. Let the federal government receive the lowest allocations. Let states and local governments have more funds from the federation accounts because 75% of the population live in our various LGAs. If they have more funds, they will do more. The health centres are at rural areas. The primary health care centres are the specialist hospitals of the rural population. They are being taken care of by local authorities with minimal support from the federal government in terms of immunisation and so on. So if more funds are allotted to LGAs, the third tier government will be stronger because people will hold the people that are providing leadership there accountable. But when they are starved, and their IGR is low, what can they do? Some of them have land sites, and if you go there, you see federal government’s representatives collecting revenues. If you see the type of roads that lead to those sites, you will pity the area. Will you blame the LGAs?”
He disagreed with calls for the scrapping of the LGAs for being irrelevant. In his words, “I don’t know what is driving the mindset of people calling for the scrapping of the third tier government in Nigeria. You mean the neighbourhood watch groups, traditional rulers and town unions should be handled at the state level? The lateriting and grading of local feeder roads to farmlands, which are usually done by local governments during dry seasons for our farmers to harvest their produce should be done by the state?
“Like in Enugu, there is no compound in our rural areas that you will not see a state worker or a local government worker, or a primary school teacher. This means driving governance down to the grass roots. So, you mean everything would be handled by the state? It is not possible. The advocates of scrapping of LGAs want to destroy the real population that are residing in those areas.
“Every week, most local government areas hold security meetings that will involve divisional police officers, heads of other security agencies, Forest Guards, vigilante groups, town union presidents and traditional rulers of various communities. This is to ensure security, which is the priority in every society. Scrapping them will lead to system collapse.”