By Henry Ojelu
Former 2nd Vice-President of Nigeria Bar Association, Monday Ubani has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing an executive order giving financial autonomy to state legislature and judiciary.
In a statement yesterday, Ubani however noted that Buhari should also engineer a constitutional amendment to address several areas of leakage of public funds.
He said: “This is a thumb up for President Muhammed Buhari. We need more of this kind of thinking and innovation in governance to revive Nigeria. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria is being killed incrementally by her leaders through brazen stealing of her resources that should have been used to develop the country and the people.
“I use this medium to urge the president and the National Assembly to go the entire hog to stop the avenues through which elites steal directly from the people because of the loopholes in our legal system. The National Assembly and the President are hereby urged to ensure the financial autonomy of the Local Government Areas in Nigeria through an immediate amendment of the constitution of 1999.
“Several billion in terms of allocations to the local government areas across the country are squandered by these same governors due to the Joint Account which the constitution provided for warehousing the allocations.
“Today as I speak there is no single local government area in Nigeria that receives in full her allocations from the federation account. They are being tampered with by these same governors and these amounts run in billions of Naira. This must stop now!
“It is also my plea that the President and National Assembly should also enact a law that will stop the governors determining the security votes they can take out of the system without accounting for them. I implore the EFCC to use a particular governor in the South East who has admitted squandering 38billion of the said security votes to set an example of the lack of transparency and accountability which is our bane. It is criminal under our present democracy to spend any money without appropriation and accountability. We should test our laws on this.
“Finally all Nigerians are advised to rise and press for Procurement Laws in all the States of the federation with the appointment of board members to oversee the contract award system that has been used by these state governors to squander the riches of the various States.
“It is a drain pipe that is used by both the federal and state governments to take so much out of the system and today the country is known as the poverty capital of the world not because we do not have resources or money, but because our leaders have mastered the art of taking so much out of the system without accountability. A word is enough for the wise.”