By Isaac Ojo
Matagu Foundation, an anti corruption advocacy group has called for probe of funds of local government council in the South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
Chief Ekene Enefe, Founder of Matagu Foundation who made the call while speaking with newsmen in Awka said non conduct of council polls by most governors in the geopolitical zone had resulted to underdevelopment of the grassroots
Enefe said that the continued use of transition committees to run the councils goes contrary to Nigeria’s constitution which stipulates that elections should be conducted into the various tiers of government so that they could have autonomy.
He observed that even in states where elections were conducted into the councils, they were done for formality sake as the chairmen were denied every executive powers which their election should confer on them.
The founder of the anti graft group alleged that there is so much corruption in the joint account which most governors operated with the council such that the transition committee chairmen are made to sign away the allocations of their councils paltry sums.
He said that the foundation had discovered that some governors don’t allow electronic transfer of these council funds but do over the counter withdrawal for which some of them had been penalised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“In line with the ongoing probe of some institutions in the country, Matagu Foundation is calling on the federal government to probe the corruption in the local government system especially in the South East where governors have refused to allow the councils to function constitutionally.
“Federal government ensure that elections are conducted into states but the governors refuse to allow that at the council level, this is mainly because they see local government money as free and sweet money.
“There is no local government that earn less than N150 million a month yet there is no sign infrastructure development in the communities, it is so bad that councils cannot patch bad road talkless of building new ones, they can’t undertake any development project.
“So we would to have these governors and their transition committee cohorts to explain to the citizens what they have used these allocations and internal revenues for.
“We found out that even this cashless era, some state governors collect these monies in cash, some of them have been fined by CBN and they have paid, we would be willing to tender evidence that will assist the probe” he said.
Enefe said the federal government should stop disbursing allocations to councils in states where elections had not been conducted.
He regretted the poor democratic values among the governors saying they were underdeveloping the area politically, even as he vowed that Matagu Foundation would do what was possible including legal means to ensure that the council funds were probed.