Ogun Govt. debunks claim of zero allocations to LGs

The Ogun State Government has denied allegation of tampering with Local Government funds but said it has rather helped to augment their finances.

A statement in Abeokuta on Tuesday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Lekan Adeniran detailed the processes of sharing funds belonging to the Local Governments.

The clarification was a reaction to a letter by the Chairman of Ijebu-East Local Government, Mr Wale Adedayo, alleging zero revenue allocation to Local Governments in the State since 2021.

“We have never tampered with Local Government funds. The Gov. Abiodun-led administration has had to augment the funds allocated to Local Governments in the State from the Federation Account to enable them to meet their obligations.

“It is therefore a wonder how adding to the funds allocated to the local councils to enable them meet their obligations amounted to hijacking their funds”, Adeniran said.

He added that funds meant for Local Governments in the State were being handled by the constitutionally-recognised Joint Account and Allocation Committee, JAAC.

The spokesperson further explained that members of that committee ensure that the third tier of government gets the required allocations for optimal performance.

“The latest meeting by JAAC was held last week, and it was widely reported in the media. At the meeting, which was held at Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, over five billion Naira was shared among the 20 local councils, out of which over two billion Naira went into paying teachers”, Adeniran disclosed.

He further stated that between May 2023 and July 2023, JAAC shared N4.531 billion, N4.444 billion and N4.497 billion respectively on first line charges among the 20 Local Governments.

And last week, N5.2 billion was shared among the Local Governments for the month of August, he added.

Adeniran stated that JAAC comprises major stakeholders in Local Government administration, including the Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Accountant-General.

Others are the Permanent Secretary of the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, all 20 Local Government Chairmen, and one representative from each of the four traditional councils in the State.

The rest, he said, are representatives of State Universal Basic Education Board, National Union of Local Government Employees, Local Government pensioners, retired primary school teachers, Local Government Service Commission, Local Government Pension Commission and Nigeria Union of Teachers.

The Governor’s spokesman added that JAAC has the mandate to meet every month to ensure that allocations to local governments are discussed and properly presented for fund allocation.

“At such meetings, the state government makes full disclosure of the receipt from the Federation Account.

“First-line charges, including Local Government staff salaries and pensions, primary school teachers’ salaries and pensions, healthcare workers’ salaries and pensions, and emoluments for traditional rulers are tabled for discussion and fund allocation at the JAAC meetings”, he explained.

Adeniran said this same pattern has been followed since the governor took over the state’s leadership in 2019.

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