The Association of Local Government of Nigeria(ALGON), Oyo State Chapter,has accused the governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde of siphoning funds from the 33 local governments in the state.
In a statement on Wednesday, signed by the association’s chairman, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, ALGON alleged that the governor mandated each local government to release N15 million for the construction of an ultra modern secretariat complex for the Local Government Service Commission and Local Government Staff Pension Board.
He said the order for the release of N495 million from the 33 local government councils for a project is another step in the systemic looting of local government funds and property.
The statement reads:”The attention of ALGON, Oyo State, has been called by the spirited members of the public to a memo dated February 20, 2020 from the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Service Commission, mandating each of the thirty three (33) local governments to release a whooping sum of Fifteen Million Naira (N15m) purportedly for the “construction of an ultra modern secretariat complex for the local government service commission/local government staff pension board.
“Mr. Akin Funmilayo, the PS, LG Service Commission who signed the confidential document claimed to have acted in line with the approval given by the State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to construct the secretariat complex.
“Having considered the farce behind the issue after a diligent investigation, we hereby submit that the purported project is nothing more than extra modern fraudulent scheme to siphon local government fund by tricks using the illegal caretakers as pawns. It is a white elephant project designed to siphon money regularly from local governments purse.
“By its constitution and in view of the latest status of the council which covers autonomy on its finances, project choice and implementation, the order as contained in the memo is illegitimate and contravenes the local government laws, constitutional responsibilities and purpose of establishing local government in Nigeria. The illegality becomes more pronounced when the huge fund is expected to be coughed out by illegal caretakers, who in principle and law, must not have access to local government account. This is also a breach of NFIU guideline on local government finances.”
ALGON further stated: “Building an imaginary secretariat is not, cannot and must not be a priority of any serious, people-focused, responsible local government administration in view of the compelling need to provide good roads, renovate dilapidated primary schools, primary health centres, sink boreholes, markets, agricultural inputs among others for the grassroots.
“These illegal caretakers are hereby strictly warned in their own interest not to be accomplices to this “ultra-modern” fraud by the State Government. It is a sure way to EFCC net, to prosecution and eventual imprisonment. The Governor has immunity against arrest and prosecution which these hustlers don’t have, so don’t be entrapped by any illegal gubernatorial order. In a democracy, there is nothing like “obey the last order” and ignorance is never an excuse in law. We advise them not to ruin their lives because of mere pittance they may receive from the “ultra modern” loot. No law, we repeat, no law empowers a state governor to direct local government administrators to release money or stylishly loot for him. Local government finances are properly budgeted based on needs assessment of the council area and appropriately approved by the legislative arm. Anything to the contrary is fraud and stealing by tricks.”
Abass-Aleshinloye reminded the public that ALGON had alerted the people to the panic auctioning of local government property by the caretaker committees on the eve its members recent resumption of office.
“The latest order for the release of N495m from the thirty three(33) local government councils for a phoney project is another step in the systemic looting of local government funds and property. This is one of the reasons His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde hurriedly dissolved democratically elected local government administration on the first day of his assumption of office, an illegal step the governor is now regretting and blaming his overzealous aides for giving him wrong advice on,” he added.
The ALGON boss further stated that the renewed attempt to blackmail ALGON leaders with corruption allegations after they rejected the “deceitful out of court settlement by monetisation” will not work,saying “the only acceptable solution is for the governor to retrace his illegal step of dissolving elected local government, the power he nor any governor or State House of Assembly does not have as pronounced by the Supreme Court.”