From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Niger State Governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu has said that allowing financial and administrative autonomy to the legislative arm of government in Nigeria will stop frequent harassment, intimidation and threat to Governors by legislators with impeachments, but that it’s not feasible.
Governor Aliyu disclosed this in Minna yesterday at the opening of a five day capacity building seminar for magistrates and Sharia Court judges at the Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre (ILK ICC).
“We have agreed on the autonomy of the legislative arm of government, we believe that constant lobby, harassment and threat from the distinguished members will stop when autonomy is granted” he said.
Aliyu however opposed the granting of autonomy to local governments saying that local governments belong to the sates not the federal government, insisting that making the local governments independent will put some of them in position that they will not be able to pay workers salaries.
He explained that in Niger State only 3 out of the 25 local government councils in the state will be in position to pay workers salaries if they are made autonomous because presently they depend on other councils to remain afloat.
The governor said that there is a misconception about the joint account principle explaining that joint account is between the local governments and not with the state through which they supplement each other financially.
“I disagree with the autonomy of local governments, there is a misconception about the joint account, some LGAs are more buoyant than the others and 22 LGAs are being supplemented by the others in the payment of salaries”.
He argued that granting autonomy to LGAs will be creating 801 federating units in the country thereby establishing mini governors of the same number in the federation which is not what the constitution wants.
“It is not right and it cannot be right in a federal system’ the governor said emphatically.
On the autonomy for the judiciary, the Governor threw his weight behind the plan saying it will improve the standards of the courts and make adjudication of justice faster and unbiased adding that “with independent and unbiased judiciary our democracy will flourish”.
He however suggested that in view of the congestion of the courts there is the need for the institution of what he called “alternative dispute resolution strategy” which will provide for means of settling disputes without recurring to the law courts.