The Kwara State government has restated that the allegation that a sum of N300million was diverted from the local government funds was borne out of mischief.
The state Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Architect Aliyu Muhammad Saifudden, stated this in Ilorin yesterday at the 32nd Media Parliament of the state council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) themed “Repositioning Local Governments for Good Governance at the Grass roots”.
He insisted that no money was siphoned from the local government purse, saying that it was a misrepresentation of fact to hold onto such insinuation.
Saifudden explained that the N300million allegedly diverted was the remainder of the money that accumulated from the local government allocations over a period of time but was reserved for future purpose.
He told the media parliament that the fund was thereafter used to augment salaries in local government and other expenses that were incurred.
Saifudden said, “A lot of things have been said about money being diverted from the local government purse. Let me make it clear that no N300million was stolen from the Local Government funds.
“It was a misrepresentation of fact to have alleged that the state government has diverted money. The money they were talking about was reserved but its custody was the only issue. The funds accumulated from allocations to Local Governments in the state became a problem and it was used to augment salaries in local governments”.
He informed that local government areas in the state have been enjoying autonomy since the present dispensation was inaugurated in 2019.
In his remarks, the state Chairman of NUJ, Abdullateef ‘Lanre Ahmed, said the independence of local government administration was required for it to perform optimally and meet the expectations of people at the grass roots.
He noted that available records showed that local government areas have been subjugated due to the excesses of state chief executives.
Ahmed called for concerted efforts at the national level to rescue the third tier of government.
“I’m aware efforts have been made to grant local government full autonomy. Thus, it would not be out of place to call on the executive and legislative arms at the National level to discountenance the usual stereotype and fear of the unknown, walk the talk and make local government areas autonomous in the management and running of their activities. Whatever is the lacuna should be cleared without wasting time”, the NUJ Chairman said.