According to Audu Ogbeh: “I Can’t Be Sending You Money That Disappears. You Don’t Repair Primary Schools”

According to Audu Ogbeh: “I Can’t Be Sending You Money That Disappears. You Don’t Repair Primary Schools"Channels Television reports that Audu Ogbeh, the former minister of agriculture, has demanded that the federal government stop sending funds to states in which governors have appointed caretaker committees to oversee local government (LG) administrations on a monthly basis. Citing an order from the Supreme Court, Ogbeh emphasized the illegality and ineffectiveness of such caretaker arrangements in an open interview with Laolu Akande that appeared on Channels Television’s Inside Sources.CONTINUE FULL READING>>>>>

“Any governor who sets up a caretaker committee should not receive any funds because a caretaker is illegal, by the Supreme Court. Don’t send them cash, deduct their own and keep it,” Ogbeh, 76, asserted. He argued that these caretaker committees often serve the interests of state governors rather than the needs of local communities.

Nigeria has 774 local government areas, but the functionality of this third tier of government has been compromised by state governors who are accused of diverting funds intended for local governance. Ogbeh criticized the mismanagement of LG funds, pointing out that money meant for local development often “disappears” under the control of these committees.

There has been a growing demand for local government autonomy in Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu has supported these calls and, in May, the Federal Government took legal action against the 36 state governors over alleged misappropriation of local government funds. Currently, local governments receive 20.60% of the monthly revenue allocated by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), but these funds are deposited into joint accounts managed by both state and local governments, leading to misuse.

Ogbeh, suggested that LG funds should be transferred directly to accounts operated solely by local governments to enhance transparency and efficiency. “I can’t be sending you money that disappears. You don’t repair primary schools, you don’t do anything, the money vanishes and they say they are paying workers, for which work? Strolling around in the morning and drinking palm wine? These are the issues. Those failures are creating dangerous problems for the country,” he lamented.

Ogbeh backed the Federal Government’s move to restore financial and legislative autonomy to local governments, a step advocated by the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi. He emphasized that effective local governance could address many social and environmental challenges, such as providing potable water, curbing the spread of infectious diseases, maintaining schools, and supplying healthcare centers with essential drugs.

“If we don’t want the local government system, scrap it. If it were allowed to work, it would have been a fantastic system,” Ogbeh suggested. He stressed that local governments should function as partners in development rather than being undermined by state governors, who often dissolve elected LG chairmen in favor of appointing caretaker chairmen aligned with their interests.CONTINUE FULL READING>>>>>