The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has declared as false the claims by some Local Government Chairmen that they were running their councils on a zero allocation basis.
Some Local government Chairmen have attributed their low performances to the lack of funds, claiming they are not given any allocation.
But the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Aniefiok Dennis Representing Etinan State Constituency, alongside his counterpart and a member of the Information Committee, representing Nsit Atai Constituency, Mark Esset said the claims were false.
Addressing Journalists in Uyo, as part of activities to mark the Assembly’s two legislative years, the lawmakers urged Local Government Chairmen not to use such alibi to deny the people at the grassroots some dividends of democracy.
The House Committee Chairman said since the Assembly has resumed plenary today(Tuesday), the house based on its oversight functions would ensure that local government chairmen perform their duties effectively.
He added that if actually, the claims were something to go by, the council Chairmen should approach them through their petitions.
His words, “The issue of zero allocation is totally false. Though no Chairman will ever admit that he has money, I stand to be challenged, those that want to leave a legacy also have some projects that can stand in their names.
“It’s very unfortunate for a Chairman to tell you that there is zero allocation. As the head of the committee, I interface with the commissioner for Local government and I know that every month, allocations are sent to them directly after the Joint Account Committee meeting.
“Our position is that let the local government formally complain to us about zero allocation if it’s actually true. We have resumed’
Speaking on the achievements of the house for the past two years, Denis said the House has sponsored about 52 bills so far which some of them have passed the third reading while 19 of them assented to.
He said the 7th Assembly was concerned about moving people-oriented motions citing debt management bill, Public Procurement bill, Violence Against person bill among others as examples.
He said the Speaker has set up a committee that would interface with the commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in the State on fine-tuning the bills before presenting them to the Governor for assent in order to hasten the process.
His words, ‘we move not just motions, but people-oriented motions that have to do with the people. Like the debt management bill that was assented to, we don’t want a situation whereby the Executive will on its own have control, we want the public to have a say.
‘Public procurement bill was also passed into law. Now, there must be bidding, not just one person coming to take a job, there must be local content as far as the law is concerned.
‘If there is a job that can be appropriately handled by our people, there is no need to bring someone from outside to do it.
‘The violence against persons law has been assented to by His Excellency. Unfortunately, during the lockdown, we had a lot of rape-related issues, gender issues concerning the girl child and women generally.”
On the suspension of strike action by the workers in Akwa Ibom State University, the Chairman said the Assembly with the collaboration of the Executive was able to resolve the crisis less than 48 hours after the intervention.
“Through our oversight function, the strike action in the Akwa Ibom State University was called off within 48 hours of the intervention of the Assembly. As you are aware, academic activities have resumed in the two campuses of the university.” Denis said