Rivers State Local Governments Allege Withholding of Funds by Governor

The Rivers State chapter of the Association of Local Government Areas of Nigeria (ALGON) has levelled serious accusations against Governor Siminalayi Fubara. The local government chairmen claim that the governor has been withholding statutory allocations intended for the state’s 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

The allegations suggest that the governor’s actions have effectively crippled the LGAs’ ability to perform their designated functions. This has raised concerns about the administration of the third tier of government and the potential impact on local governance.

The state ALGON chairman, alongside other local government officials, has accused Governor Fubara of failing to convene the statutory Joint Account Allocation Committee meeting, which is essential for the release and disbursement of funds to the LGAs. The withholding of funds since April 2024, and in the case of Emohua LGA since March 2024, has been described as an action without just cause, leading to a deprivation of necessary resources for the LGAs to fulfill their statutory roles.

Furthermore, allegations have surfaced that Governor Fubara directed top personnel from the local government councils to compile salary vouchers and overheads of civil servants, excluding elected officials, for his review. This move is seen as an attempt to bypass the democratically elected local government chairmen in the disbursement of salaries, which could be interpreted as an encroachment on the autonomy of local governments.

In response to these developments, the Rivers State chapter of ALGON has expressed support for the call to initiate impeachment proceedings against Governor Fubara. They argue that the governor’s actions are tantamount to an illegal proscription of local government councils, a violation of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

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As the situation unfolds, the local government chairmen have made it clear that they will not vacate their offices after the expiration of their tenure on June 17, 2024, signaling a potential standoff with the state government.

This controversy comes on the heels of a recent court order barring the Rivers State Government from withholding financial allocations of the LGAs, pending the determination of a suit filed by the council chairmen against the state.

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