A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former member, House of Representatives from Gombe State, Hajiya Fatima Binta Bello, has berated Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya for sending what she described as an obnoxious bill that has nothing good to offer the State to the state assembly.
The tough speaking former NASS member who represented Kaltungo/Shongom Federal Constituency also carpeted the State House of Assembly for passing the bill.
Honourable Binta, who was Deputy Minority Whip in the 8th NASS, alleged that the law was meant to serve as a conduit pipe to siphon Local Government funds thereby making them mere appendages of the State Government.
According to her, “It’s unfortunate that despite its outright rejection from various quarters and without holding any public hearing and consultation, the Gombe State House of Assembly members have blindly passed into law the bill that is meant to mortgage the future of the State”.
She said, “It’s obvious that the bill has come under scathing criticism as it is not only considered to be obnoxious but it is also a negation of the principle of federation because it’s inconsistent with the Federal Government’s regulation on the financial autonomy of the 774 Local Governments in the country”.
“In a bid to free Local Governments from the shackles of State Governments as well as curb corruption in the joint account system operated by States, President Muhammadu Buhari had last year ordered the direct remittance of the third tier allocation from the federation accounts to the local governments.
“But here is a governor creating a law that is even more dangerous than the abolished joint account. This is condemnable and contestable by all well-meaning citizens of the state”, she stated.
She said, the bill, apart from being contrary to Section seven (7) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, is also contradicting the guidelines of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), which became effective on June 1, 2019.
The NFIU had also described the state and joint local government accounts as the biggest corruption, money laundering and security threats at the grassroots level and to the entire financial system.
Hon. Binta opined that it’s crystal clear that the purported law seeks to usurp the powers of the local governments adding that, the law did not also provide the conditions the ‘willing’ Local Councils will fulfill before they are allowed to participate.
“It equally did not define the meaning of ‘willing’ when it’s the Governor that’s the head and the ‘appointing or selecting’ executive”, she said.
“We demand that the bill be jettisoned and be thrown in the dustbin of history where it rightly belongs. Gombe State cannot go through the back door to enact a law that is inconsistent with that of the federation.
“The government owes a duty to the good people of Gombe State to make laws for the good governance of the state and not otherwise. This bill is anti-people and a negation of the desire to ensure the autonomy of Local Governments and is hereby rejected,” she stressed.