Sanwo-Olu Government Accused Of Breaching NFIU Guidelines, Deducting LGA Funds At Source

One month after the National Finance Intelligence Unit (NFIU), issued guidelines barring state governments from touching funs meant for the third tier of government, sources in the Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA), says the Lagos State government deducted over N370 million from its allocation for June 2019. 

The LGA, which is further divided into six local council development areas (LCDAs), were anticipating that they would split the sum of N750 million. 

The sources told SaharaReporters that the Lagos government, however, left them with a little over N320 million.

If the NFIU chooses to act, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, the CEO of the bank where the joint local government account is domiciled and the chief executive officer of the bank, are likely to be blacklisted. 

Abimbola Umar, the state’s accountant-general, had told the Joint Account and Allocations Committee in the state that a waiver had been obtained from the corruption investigation body, to make deductions from funds apportioned to the LGA, for the payment of the salaries, gratuities and pensions of local government staff.

An NFIU source told SaharaReporters that Modibbo Hamman-Tukur, director of the NFIU, did not grant such a waiver to the Lagos State government.

“Please, we did not give concession to any state to do any direct deductions from JAAC and will never do so,” the source quoted Hamman-Tukur saying.

“However, we also admonished all LG councils to remit their obligations under the law without being forced to do so. The funds are local governmentt funds,” the source added. 

When SaharaReporters asked Gboyega Akosile, Deputy Press Secretary to the state governor if the state had obtained any concession from the NFIU, he said the question should be directed to the local government chairmen.

“They are the ones to know if any monies had been withdrawn from them,’ he added. 

He said the NFIU would be in a position to answer the question as well. 

SaharaReporters also reached out to the accountant-general to confirm if the state government had made any deductions from LGA accounts. 

Mrs.Umar, however, did not reply to calls and a text message sent to her since Sunday. 

State governments across the country have been accused of being serial abusers of monies meant for the third tier of government.

Data from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), says state governments had unchecked access to N14,708,838,964,375— about N14.71 trillion worth of funds meant for local councils between 2010 and 2018.

According to Premium Times, between 2007 and April 2019, local governments were given N15.5 trillion, which the states have had unrestricted access to. 

Alimosho local government is the second local government that collects the highest amount of funds from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), within the period.

Alimosho received N52.16 billion within the last 12 years.

Monies allocated to local governments are usually paid into a JLA to reduce the burden of paying into 774 separate accounts. The state governments are supposed to make these monies available to the LGAs. 

However, the governments choose to use the money to carry out its own developmental projects across the LGAs. States also choose not to conduct elections into local government offices. They prefer to appoint administrators and caretakers, who are practically the stooges.

NFIU says the need to draw up the guidelines, which many have described as being unconstitutional, is mandated by the discovery of money meant for LGA’s in the hands of Bureau de Change personnel’s. It also noted that grassroots corruption threatened the Isolation of Nigeria’s finance system globally.