President Muhammadu Buhari has flayed the tendency of some Chief Executive Officers to encourage corruption in the Local Government (LG) system, thus hindering development at the grassroots.
Buhari expressed this feeling at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) No. 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, on Thursday in Abuja.
He listened to comments on the Course 44 presentation on the theme “Strengthening Local Governance in Nigeria: Challenges, Options and Opportunities”.
The comments were expressed by some members of the Federal Executive Council, who aired their personal views on enhancing the autonomy of local governments.
The President, then, narrated his personal experience on the treatment of local governments by some state governments.
He also spoke on efforts to stem the tide of corruption at the LG level after the presentation of the report of NIPSS SEC 44.
“I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience.
“What they did, this is my personal experience.
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“If the money from the Federation Account to the State is about N100 million, N50 million will be sent to the Chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million.
“The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.
“Then the chairman of the LG must see how much he must pay in salaries and to hell with development.
“When he pays the salaries of the big men, the balance he will put in his pocket.
“This is what is happening; this is Nigeria.
“’It is a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated,” Buhari narrated.
President Buhari urged public officeholders to let their conscience and personal integrity guide them, wherever they found themselves.
He pledged that the recommendations contained in the presentation of SEC 44 would be painstakingly studied by the government, with a view to implementing them.
He said that his administration had done so much in building trust between the government and the people.
The President said the report would assist in providing good governance to the people at the grassroots.
By extension, he said, this will win back their trust in the government.
“It is obvious that government cannot afford to pay lip service to the recommendations contained in this report.
“I assure you that the Federal Government will treat the report with the seriousness and urgency it deserves.
“The government will study the report with a view to implementing the carefully detailed recommendations.”
Buhari commended the quality of the report and the commitment and dedication that went into it.
“We can always trust the National Institute to deliver on very critical and sensitive assignments of national importance,” he said.
He expressed delight that the Institute had been exceptional in handling several assignments.
According to him, the current submission is a commendable improvement on the existing standards.
In his remarks, the Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo said the Course Participants undertook study tours of 14 states.
They also visited six African countries and six countries outside Africa.
“This enabled them to have both local and international perspectives on local governance,” Omotayo said.
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