Members of the National Union of local Government Employees (NULGE) yesterday matched round Abakaliki capital city in their thousands agitating for autonomy in the local government system.
The workers carried placards with various inscriptions, such as “Legislature Free LG from strangulation,” “Bring back our autonomy and bring third tier of government,” “Let my people go, Autonomy please,” “Local government workers need Autonomy,’ and so on.
They also stormed the premises of the House of Assembly and Government House, Abakaliki, where they were addressed by the state Head of Service, Dr. Chamberlin Nwele.
Speaking, during the protest, the National Trustee of NULGE, Comrade Abimbola Babaloloa, said local government autonomy “will stop deductions of local government allocations by governors.”
He said the autonomy would bring sanity to the system and strengthen the local government administration in the country.
“If we have our own resources, we will manage it well. We want direct
allocations to local governments so that it will stop the deductions
being made by our governors. When we have them in our poll, we know
how to utilize them better for the people,” he said.
Babalola called for grassroots democracy in the local government system where everybody would be inclusive.
On his part, the state NULGE President, Comrade Leonard Nkah, said with
full autonomy, the third tier of government would provide democracy
dividends to the people.
Addressing the workers, Nwele said in Ebonyi, over “50% of the local governments cannot pay salaries of the local government workers.”
“About seven out of the 13 local government areas in Ebonyi state cannot pay salaries of workers in the system. Should we have local government autonomy? Today, salaries are paid on or before 15th of
every month in the state at both the state and local government
employees because of the governor’s ingenuity in managing the lean
resources of the state,” he said.