A member of the House of Representatives for Egor/Ikpoba Okha Constituency in Edo State, Hon Johnson Agbonayinma, has accused state governors of sidelining local governments in the even distribution of the Paris Club Refund recently released by the Federal Government.
Agbonayinma told journalists at the weekend in Benin City, the state capital that the joint account by the State and LGs was a fraud and lamented that some governors had refused to conduct an election to elect council chairmen to enhance development at the grassroots.
He said that some governors were on the verge of sacking Local Government chairmen through the court, but praised the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that the governors must account for the first batch of the refund before they can benefit from the second tranche.
The lawmaker also lauded the probe of governors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over missing funds from the London and Paris Clubs’ refund, but expressed dismay that the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) which employed lawyers and fought for the money were yet to benefit from it.
Agbonayinma said: “This money belongs to Nigerians and it is unfortunate that the 774 Local Government Areas have not been carried along. The governors have decided to take local governments for a ride and I don’t see civil society groups talking about the issue. It is a constitutional right for the local government to exist.
“It was ALGON that engaged lawyers to ensure that this money was refunded to the Federal Government. Haven done that, the right thing was to let those who made it possible for the money to be refunded to the Federal Government to benefit from it,” he said.