‘Non-functional local councils responsible for flooding’
The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has blamed the floods ravaging most parts of the country on collapsed local government administration.
National President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, told The Guardian that sanitation, market administration and internal security were the primary responsibilities of local government councils.
His words: “I think that flooding can be better managed by functional local government authorities. In the first place, local councils were created to address issues and societal challenges at primary stage.
“By that the local governments have certain environmental responsibilities particularly the issues of sanitation of the environment within the domain of local government. It is only the local governments that have the power to go round from house to house and ensure that practices that enhance the personal hygiene of the citizens within the local government is carried out.”
Khaleel explained that usurping the powers and responsibilities of the local governments by state governments has made the delivery of their functions impossible.
“Councils cannot deliver their duties to the citizens because they no longer function and are, therefore, dead to their responsibilities. NULGE believes that the comatose state of local government contributes hugely to the menace of flooding that has now become part of our national lives on an annual basis,” he stated.
He stressed that state governments were not empowered and do not have the expertise and manpower to manage flooding, saying, “because floods take place at the community level and state governments are too far removed from the communities.”
Khaleel stated although there are sanitary inspectors at the local government level of government, they cannot function because of the death of local government administration, adding, “We must realise that somebody must be there to drive the process.
“There is no political leadership at the local government level. What do you expect? This is one of the many reasons we are agitating for a functional local government administration so that this kind of gap can be bridged.”
He added that prior to the introduction of monthly sanitation by the Federal Government, which was enforced by the state governments, there was weekly sanitation exercise that were mainly handled by the department of social and community development at the local government level where sanitation, market administration and sanitation issues were tackled.He, however, expressed hopes that the on-going constitutional amendment would lead to financial and administrative autonomy to local councils.