By Joshua Chibuzo Andrew
There is a growing disenchantment in the local government councils in Enugu state following the inability of the council Chairmen to raise funds to meet demands of their offices as well as pay salaries of their political appointees.
Already, worried stakeholders are calling on the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe into the funds of local governments in the state.
The Stakeholders are querying if raising the state’s economy from 4billion dollars to 30billion dollars promised by Governor Peter Mbah was now tied to “siphoning” local government funds.
It was gathered that the council Chairmen have for some months now failed to pay their political appointees due to paucity of funds.
Investigations show that though the council chairmen have been receiving their allocations since May 29, when Governor Peter Mbah was inaugurated and have been paying salaries of the workers, they have not been able to pay their appointees because their money is stuck in an account created by the state government called, “Enugu State Economic Account”.
Sources stated that allocations for the councils are moved into the account from where the state governor had allegedly approved money “for salaries of workers and overheads to enable them run their offices only’, adding that the money was barely enough to take care of “salaries of political appointees in the councils and other needs”.
“The unfortunate thing is that this government had received local government allocations in the last three months but has not cared to meet with the Council Chairmen to discuss how to utilize their funds and has continued to starve them of funds. The question now will be, what has happened to the billions of naira received as allocation for the local governments since none of them is doing any project at the moment in the state?”, the source stated.
The source recalled that the rift over sharing formula from the account led to the removal of executive of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state led by Solomon Onah last month from office even when his tenure was yet to elapse.
It added that the ousted executive had not sought permission before disbursing their funds; a development said not to have gone well with the governor.
Onah was replaced by the Chairman of Nkanu East local government, Ejike Udeh as chairman of ALGON.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and Financial Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to beam a searchlight on the state with a view to tracking funds meant for the councils in the past few months.