The Kwara State government has rejected the demand by the State’s chapter of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) for a refund of N33.6 billion to local government councils in the state as illogical, and baseless.
In a statement by Dr. Muideen Akorede, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the State government described NULGE’s demand as unfortunate and curious saying that there is no basis for demanding a refund of that amount or any other figure from the government. It said the government, on the contrary, has severally augmented allocation to local government in recent months to enable them pay workers.
The government denied the deducting from the 16 local government councils’ statutory allocations for the said 84 months or at any other period, maintaining that it does not tamper with LG funds as alleged by the workers.
The State government, however, clarified that funds are shared among Basic Education teachers, LGs, Pensioners, Traditional councils as prescribed by law, adding that the Ahmed administration ensures this distribution is done transparently on monthly basis.
Additionally, the statement noted that that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed only proposed to take over payment of JSS teachers in order to reduce the burden on LGs and enhance their capacity to pay workers in view of reduced allocation from the federation account.
It therefore, stressed that it is ironic that NULGE is using the said proposal as the basis for its illogical demand for refund, adding that it is a public knowledge that allocations accruing to all tiers of government have dropped due to fall in oil prices.
The statement said it is time NULGE woke up to that reality of the economic situation and the fact that the Ahmed administration does not tamper with LG funds, and that the State government remains committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the distribution of LG funds as specified by law.
The government also advised NULGE to direct its request for promotions and salary increase to their respective local government councils as the state government is not responsible for such.