Binta Bello berates Inuwa over LGs joint projects agency

 Former Honourable Member Representing Kaltungo/Shongom Federal Constituency in the National Assembly and Deputy Minority Whip in the 8th Assembly, Hon. Binta Bello, has bereted the Gombe s governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, over the bill which was recently passed into law for the establishment of the joint development project agency. 

Hon. Binta, who described the law as obnoxious, said the joint agency was established by the governor to serve as a conduit to continue to siphon local government funds and making them mere appendage of the state government. 

In a statement issued to Daylight Reporters, the former federal lawmaker said, “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. 

“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. 

“Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had, last year in a bid to free the local government from the shackles of state government as well as curb corruption in the joint account system operated by states, 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 said, the bill, apart from being contrary to Section 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 and the Gombe new law will not be an exception.” 

Hon. Binta further opined that it’s crystal clear that the purported law seeks to usurp the powers of the local governments. It’s contradictory in all terms because the governor is the head with his commissioners, that’s an extension of the state executive council.

The law did not also provide for 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. 

“Consequently, 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.”

The former deputy minority whip also called on the governor to immediately conduct local government election in the state. 

“The governor and his exco members cannot be judge in their own case and I call for an immediate conduct of local government election.

“He has been managing state and local governments funds for over one year as there is neither appointed administrators nor elected chairmen which is a clear breach of the constitution,” she added.

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