RMAFC Advocates Full Local Government Autonomy to Combat Poverty


The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has called for full autonomy for Local Government Councils (LGCs) in Nigeria, asserting that this measure will significantly reduce poverty and curb rural-urban migration.

RMAFC Chairman Mohammed Shehu, in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja, highlighted the necessity for LGCs to operate independently from state and federal governments to ensure effective grassroots governance. He supported the federal government’s legal efforts to enforce constitutional provisions granting full autonomy to LGCs.

On May 26, the Federal Government initiated a lawsuit against the governors of Nigeria’s 36 states at the Supreme Court, alleging misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas. The suit, filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, seeks to prevent state governors from arbitrarily dissolving democratically elected local government leaders and appointing caretaker committees.

Shehu emphasized that the Nigerian Constitution recognizes federal, state, and local governments as distinct tiers, each funded from the Federation Account. He criticized state government dominance over LGCs, which undermines their political, administrative, and financial independence, thus hindering their ability to provide quality infrastructure and social services.

“Granting full autonomy to LGCs will reduce poverty, curb rural-urban migration, and deliver more democratic benefits to the populace. It will also attract qualified candidates for council elections, improving governance across all levels,” Shehu stated.

He argued that full autonomy would promote good governance, transparency, and accountability at the local level, and help address security challenges such as banditry, kidnappings, terrorism, and electoral violence by directing local government funds towards rural development.

Shehu also outlined the importance of financial autonomy for LGCs, allowing them to impose local taxes, generate revenue, and manage their budgets without state interference. He noted that the Constitution mandates a democratically elected local government system, with no provisions for any alternative governance structure at the local level.

RMAFC supports the ongoing federal lawsuit requesting that local government funds be directly allocated from the Federation Account to ensure fiscal autonomy. The commission calls on civil society organizations and the media to advocate for local government autonomy in Nigeria.

Mike Ojo

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