By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, has threatened to shut down the 774 local government areas in the country over the alleged plot by the National Assembly to remove the local government as the third tier of government from the constitution.
The union said that it would be left with no other option than to shut down the 774 council areas if the lawmakers went ahead with the proposal.
National President of NULGE, Comrade Ambali Olatunji who made this known while speaking to a journalists in Abuja, weekend, warned that the Union would not hesitate to mobilise its members on a mass protest to the National Assembly to resist what they described as “anti-people plot.”
He advised the leadership of the National Assembly to organize a forum within two weeks with the union so that they would discus the issues to avert crisis.
Comrade Olatunji expressed disappointment with a member of the House of Representatives from Rivers State that was said to have brought up such a controversial bill, saying that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike was a product of local government and a former local government chairman.
He said that the union has already written to the leadership of the National Assembly especially the House of Representatives to oppose the bill, warning that the strike which was imminent, would be ultimate if the legislators remain adamant.
According to him, “We also know that this is a serious challenge to local government, and we are saying this, very soon if we engage them (NASS) and the leadership is not doing what is needful, we might direct our members to shut down the country in all the 774 local government, but we hope that they will not allow it to degenerate to that level.
“Once you delist local government as a tier of government, it shows that you have killed local government. Even, now that the local government remains a tier of government, the governors are pauperising local government and there are a lot of swindling of local government funds.
“That’s why they are not allowing democratic elected leadership at the local government level. What they are doing is to appoint their cronies as caretakers in local government so that they will continuously impoverished local government.”
The NULGE President who insisted that any focus on making the local government work was a step in the right direction to get it right in the county, raised concerns over the diversion by members of the House when the country was moving towards actualising local government autonomy.
He argued that delisting of the local government as a tier of government, would throw the 70 per cent of Nigerians who live in the local government into abject poverty.
He said, “That will bring in anarchy, amplify insecurity and that will continuously hype poverty level and joblessness.”