Zamfara state chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) has accused the State Government of denying Local Governments in the state of their funds remitted from the federation account in spite of the Presidential order that such funds be sent directly to the councils’ accounts.
Addressing a press conference in Gusau, Spokesman of the association in the state and Chairman of Maradun Local Government, Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar, alleged that the state government had totally violated the presidential order.
“We were shocked to be told by the state government representatives at the routine monthly Joint Account(JAC) meeting that after the usual local government staff salaries and other mandatory deductions, they were directed to only give each Chairman N5 million to run the Council for the next 30 days.
“We pointed out to them that this is a violation of the new order but they refused to listen to us.
“This confirmed our suspicion that there are attempts by the PDP-led government in the state to sack all the 14 local government chairmen because we do not belong to the same party.
“The state government is also trying to pitch the workers against us by saying we refused to pay salaries which is why we ran to the the press to pre-empt them,” he said.
He said that all the council chairmen who were voted under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would drag the state government to court for any further attempt to deny them their funds.
“We have since drawn out our priority areas on the various projects we want to execute to the benefit of our electorate which have been approved by the state House of Assembly, therefore no one has the right to decide on how we should spend these funds.
“The state government can monitor the councils’ expenditures through its machinery but it has no power to withhold our money,” the ALGON spokesman said.
Reacting to the allegations, the Director-General, Press Affairs to the State Governor, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, said “the ALGON members were invited to the routine JAC meeting but they decided to boycott the process’’.
“It is just that the council chairmen have ill motives because the Executive Governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, has no hand in the meeting except that he will ensure that only the right things that are in the best interest of the people of the state are done.
“The statutory deductions are normal because they cut across payments of salaries of local government staff, primary school teachers, Mass Education Board, pensions, emirates and for training.
“The chairmen did not even enter the meeting;the attendance register is there to confirm this, so they refused to participate in the meeting, how can they make claims on something that did not happen.
“They should go back and perfect their plans before meeting with the press or they come along and join hands with the people oriented government of the day so that we can move the state forward.
“Governor Matawalle has said several times that his administration will carry everyone along by giving equal opportunity to all in order to take the state to greater heights.” Idris said.