By Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has received commendations from both the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Connected Development (CODE), for its new policy that seeks to grant financial autonomy to local governments and address gross misappropriation, corruption, money laundering, and security threats at the grassroots level.
The TUC President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, in a statement sent to Daily Times, said the policy would help curb the unending corrupt activities going on at the State and Local Government levels.
The NFIU recently released guidelines barring financial institutions from allowing transactions from state joint local government accounts and approved that funds be disbursed to local governments directly, thus, strengthening the financial autonomy of the councils.
Kaigama said the TUC was in support of the recent circular released by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“We have always said it that cash transactions and withdrawals of the joint account is a threat to development at the grassroots; in fact, it even fans the embers of insecurity and major crisis.
“The governors have made a mess of the joint account system and have deprived local governments of their development initiatives in their local areas leading to bad leadership. Whatever checks and balances principle that informed its establishment in the first place are no longer valid. Therefore, we fully support the circular and call on well-meaning Nigerians to do same.
“The biggest challenge confronting the country today is leadership and its bane, corruption. The public officials deliberately violate guidelines that make a system decent,” he said.
While we commending the NFIU on the laudable initiative, Kaigama also urged the Central Bank, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others to provide the necessary support to ensure compliance.
Similarly, the Connected Development (CODE), Chief Executive and Founder, Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal has equally commended the new policy, noting that it will go a long way in catering for the welfare of the people at the grassroots who are marginalized and discounted because funds meant for the development of their communities are diverted.
“For years, federal and state governments have maintained great influence and control over local governments, leaving room for embezzlement, mismanagement and financial leakages, denying local governments the chance to make significant development impact and bring governance closer to the people at the grassroots.
“Local governments are entitled to a statutory allocation of national revenue for carrying out specific functions in response to local needs, but the Nigerian constitution gives state governments power to handle issues hampering on governance at the local level. This has ultimately, affected grassroots socio-economic development in the country,” Lawal stated.