Governors of the 36 states of the federation may lose control of over N2.2 trillion revenue, which accrues to the 774 local government areas (LGAs) and oil-producing communities from the Federation Account yearly, if the planned autonomy for LGAs and the clamour for direct payment of the 13 per cent derivation funds to oil-producing areas is actualised.
In the last one year alone, all the state governors have controlled an estimated N1.53 trillion revenue, being the LGAs’ share of allocation from the Federation Account. Each month, billions of naira are paid directly to the states instead of the councils, data gathered have shown.
In addition, the governors of oil-producing states have been controlling more than N565.86 billion paid to them as the 13 per cent derivation funds, rather than the oil-producing areas as stipulated in the country’s constitution.
These figures are besides the other allocations accruing to the LGs and oil communities from draw-downs from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), which, when added together increase the revenue of the LGs and the oil communities currently controlled by the state governors by another N200 billion.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday, after its votes on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, granted autonomy to the local governments by altering the contentious Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution, which abrogated state joint local government accounts and empowers each local government to maintain its special account to be called “Local Government Council Allocation Account”.
The lower chamber’s move has now put elected local government chairmen in direct control of their allocations from the federal government rather than the state governors.
The Senate has, however, rejected autonomy for the third tier of government, an action that has been condemned by some prominent Nigerians and groups.
Although most states of the federation are opposed to autonomy for the LGs, the Sokoto State government has described it as welcome development.