A civil society group, National Democratic Front (NDF), has called on President Muhammdu Buhari to probe governors over embezzlement of local government allocations since 1999.
Nigeria’s lowest tier of government had suffered neglect prior to President Buhari’s administration.
Funds meant for the grassroots were squandered by fascist governors without fear and conscience.
However, Mr Buhari recently put an end to this can of worms, obliging to directly pay their revenue into their accounts.
While hailing the president’s bold move, the NDF has urged him to go a step further by probing how previous funds were expended.
The National Democratic Front made this known in a press statement by Secretary-General Dr. Bolaji Abdulkadir on Monday.
“For us at the National Democratic Front (NDF), the development is a positive one that we find highly commendable. It is a step in the right direction and fits into the restructuring that citizens have been clamouring for as it restored the desired financial autonomy back to the third tier of government.
“In the immediate ugly past when state governors held onto the financial resources of local government councils, their autonomy became non-existent and the people at the grassroots were consistently denied access to service delivery.
“This control of the finances of the local governments by state governors had implications for democracy itself. For the state governors to continue controlling the finances of third tier of government they perfect an aberration whereby elections rarely take place at this tier of government that is supposed to be the closest to the people.
“The councils became a place filled by lackeys and minions of state governors while some turned it into the social benefit offices for their extended family members and in-laws.
“We are therefore alarmed that state governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum are warming up to violate this financial regulation under the pretext that there is no constitutional provision for it.
“We learnt that they have perfected series of illegal ploys to torpedo the regulation while putting up a civil front through the petition they sent to President Muhammadu Buhari. Sadly, the many false claims they put up in that ill-advised petition are not enough reason for them to continue feasting on local government allocation.
“This desire to continue stealing funds meant for developing the grassroots is evil, wicked and callous.
“In view of the security challenges that had arisen out of their decimation of the local government system, our expectation is that state governors would have accepted the new financial regulation as a face-saving grace to end their perfidy. But it is now clear that they desire to keep feasting on the resources of the local governments, under-develop the grassroots and then cash in on the insecurity occasioned by the resulting poverty so that they can claim more security vote while pocketing other state resources with the claim that the security situation is not allowing them to develop their areas.
“There is a limit to which Nigerians can continue to tolerate a band of very few citizens, less than 200 in all, which have continued to rape the system and criminally enrich themselves. The demand they are making on President Buhari will rubbish his anti-corruption efforts if he allows them to have their way, which must never be allowed.
“Rather than allowing these criminal minded people hold Nigeria back in the Stone Age while other jurisdictions are developing their communities through the local government, we ask that President Buhari respond to their petition in a manner that will further liberate local governments from the clutches of thieves.
“Mr President should therefore order for a probe of local government allocations from 1999 till date. He should further direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to expedite investigation into all petitions related to local government funds, anyone named in such petitions should be interrogated and promptly arraigned before a competent court.
“On this matter, NDF and Nigerians stand with President Buhari and will stop at nothing to ensure that the resources meant for the local governments truly go towards developing the grassroots. We must decisively make this the end of using money meant for development to buy cars for mistresses and concubines as birthday gift.”