By Bridget Ikyado
Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has directed the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs (BLGCA), to immediately restore some of the statutory obligations meant for the local government areas in the state.
Gov. Alia in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Tersoo Kula said, “the move is part of his administration’s steps towards reforming the Local Government system, and giving the third tier of government in the state a new lease of life”.
The Governor who gave the directive at a meeting with traditional rulers in the state on Tuesday, also said the state government was entrusting the security of communities into the hands of the traditional rulers. He equally charged the traditional rulers to always be in their domains and accessable to their subjects instead of going around, a situation he said may demean their status before their subjects.
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting with the traditional rulers on Wednesday in Makurdi, Special Adviser, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Dennis Akura, told newsmen that Gov. Alia also directed that all monies allocated for imprest and other running costs be released directly to the administrators at the local government levels.
The Special Adviser further disclosed that, “as part of plans to give the LG system a new lease of life, the DGSAs, who are currently the Acting Chairmen of the LGAs, are to come up with a needs assessment to address issues that need urgent attention at that level of government. The needs assessments are to address issues such as office maintenance as well as fixing of drainages and culverts at the different local government areas”.
Dr. Akura said in their first JAC (Joint Account) meeting, “we introduced certain reforms that were not adhered to by the last administration fo implementation henceforth”.
“We directed DGSAs who are the Acting Chairmen of our various local government councils to revert to the old methods, old policies, old ways of paying and the required imprest and other administrative running costs to staff of LGAs, the HODs, the DCSAs and all other relevant staff of LGs so that they have what is required for them. This ensure accountability.
He disclosed further that payment of salaries on the 25th of every month is among the reforms that have been introduced at the local government areas, expressing confidence that things at that level would change for the better under the Alia led administration.