Rivers: LG Bosses Tackle Fubara For Withholding Monthly Allocation

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The chairmen of local government areas in Rivers State have accused Governor Siminalayi Fubara of executive high-handedness for not releasing their monthly allocation, which they noted is backed by the constitution.

The council chairmen, who held a press conference in Port Harcourt, also called on President Bola Tinubu and the Federal Government to intervene on the matter to “avoid the breakdown of law and order.”

The council chairmen, 21 in number and led by Hon. Allwell Ihunda (Chairman, ALGON Rivers State) Chairman, PHALGA and Hon. George T. Ariolu (Deputy Chairman, ALGON Rivers State) Chairman, Obio/Akpor LGA, accused the governor of withholding the allocation for the month of April.

The said: “It has come to the notice of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers State Chapter that the Rivers State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, GSSRS, has neglected, failed and deliberately refused to hold the statutory Joint Account Allocation Committee Meeting (JAAC)…

“He has continued to withhold the statutory allocation due to the 23 Local Governments Councils of Rivers State since the month of April 2024 (and in the case of Emohua since March 2024) till date for no just cause, thereby starving the third tier of government of the funds required to discharge its statutory functions in the administration of the Local Government Areas.

“It has also come to our notice that the Governor of Rivers State held a meeting with Heads of Local Government Administration (HLGA), Heads of Personnel Management (HPM), Treasurers of Local Governments and other Directors on Monday the 6th day of May 2024 in Government House Port Harcourt… with a view to unlawfully dipping his hands into Local Government funds to pay staff salaries directly without the involvement of the democratically elected Local Government Chairmen.

” In other words, the Governor of Rivers State is seeking to proscribe the system of Local Government by democratically elected Local Government Councils which is guaranteed under section 7 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

“This action is tantamount to an illegal proscription of the Local Government Councils by a Governor who had recently announced that the Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly are non-existent or exist merely at his convenience/mercy. These are clear signs that Rivers State is on the verge of being plunged into the dark ages of totalitarianism and autocratic rule under His Excellency Sir Siminialayi Fubara.

“This conduct of the Rivers State Government which smacks of executive high-handedness and lawlessness is not only despicable and unconscionable in a democratic setting, but is also unconstitutional given the clear provisions of sections 3(6), 7 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution…

“It is worrisome that the Governor of Rivers State who took the oath of office and swore to uphold the Law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will stoop so low as to resort to such undemocratic and unconstitutional means to strangulate the third tier of government with a view to achieving personal political ends…

“It is even more worrisome to note that the Governor of Rivers State took the decision to withhold the statutory allocation in this case in flagrant violation of the subsisting interim order of the Federal High Court (coram Hon. Justice J. K. Omotosho (J) entered in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/537/2024 on the 25th day of April 2024) which mandated all the parties to the suit, including the Rivers State Government (who is the 7th Defendant therein), to maintain the status quo and not to take any step that will render the pending motion for interlocutory injunction before the court nugatory.

“We therefore call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the Federal Government of Nigeria to intervene by calling the Governor of Rivers State to order with a view to avoiding a breakdown of governance, law and order in Rivers State.”

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