By Christiana Onuoha
The national leadership of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has eulogized President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for its recent guidelines through Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), on the handling of funds belonging to the local government councils, especially in regards to State-Local Government Council Joint Account.
The Union also throw its total support behind the federal government on the new guidelines and excitedly pledged to train its members in view to monitoring the progress and defaulters of the guidelines, saying that the new guidelines commemorates its calls and efforts over the years against misuse of local government funds.
Addressing journalists in Abuja at NULGE Headquarters during a press briefing, the president of the union Comrade Khaleel Ibrahim, mentioned some of the provisions of the guidelines which include that “the state Local Government Joint Account is only a collection account for funds to be shared directly to Local Government Councils within a state.
“That no withdrawal can henceforth be done from a state Local Government Joint Account unless and until that withdrawal is going Into a particular Local Government Account. Provision of a ceiling of N500,000 daily cash withdrawal for all local governments across the country. All other withdrawals must be by cheque or electronic transfers, etc.”
Khaleel also stated that the guidelines went on to provide sanctions (Provisions 8 & 9) for violation on the above guidelines, where it says that “banks and other financial or no financial institutions that violate the provisions are liable to an instant penalty of one hundred percent (100%) refund of the amount withdrawn; while public officers/and or private citizens found undermining or violating these guidelines are to be investigated and prosecuted under the NFIU Act and other anti-corruption laws in place.”
His statement partly reads, “Our Union, and the entire leadership and membership at the Nigeria Union of Local Government employees across the 774 Local Government in the Federation fully welcome the bold action of the Federal Government in coming up with these measures, which we are convinced will put a substantial halt to the haemorrhage of local government finances, which has over the years been flagrantly abused by state governors and their collaborators.
“As a union, we will work with the relevant agencies of the Federal government to ensure the successful implementation of the guidelines. We will train our members across the length and breadth of the country to keep an eagle eye on the operations of the Funds going to local government councils henceforth, to ensure that the abuse which has been perpetuated in the past are stopped for good.
“We wish to commend Mr. President and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for sanctioning these guidelines. This has renewed our faith in the anti-corruption fight at the present government. We call on all Nigerians to renew their support for the fight against corruption by the current government, so that as a nation we can move forward and use our resources for the growth and development of our people.
“Going forward, we call on all political parties to put forward credible and capable Nigerians to run for political office in our local government system. so that they can deploy their talent to run functional and credible government at the grassroot level. in our history as a nation, this has happened before. We believe with the appropriate change in the mindset of our political elite, this can be rekindled, and our local government system, will once again be an agency for local and grassroot development.”