The Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the monumental fraud taking place at the local councils in Lagos. According to Premium Times, a government audit has indicted 8 Local Council of squandering at least N224 million of public funds, The Local Councils indicted by the 2012 Audit Report are Surulere, AgbadoOke-odo, Coker-Aguda, Egbe-Idumu, Eredo, Iba, Ikosi-Isheri, and Lagos Island East. The report accused the Council officials of financial recklessness.
The Audit Report reportedly also revealed that another set of eight Local Councils are jointly indebted to the tune of N788.3 million. These councils are Eti-Osa East, Lagos Mainland, Somolu, Ikoyi-Obalende, Iru-Victoria Island, Yaba, Agbado Oke-odo and Eti-Osa.
For instance, officials of Agbado Oke-Odo paid N11.5 million personal advance for staff since 2010 but failed to deduct the payments from the beneficiaries’ salaries. The officials also failed to remit statutory deductions from Contracts awarded to the tune N40.9 million.
It is instructive to stress that the local councils are not the only culprits at putting odious debt burden on the masses the Lagos State Government has also massively plunged Lagos State to the tune of N160 billion.
We hold that it is the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policy thrust, which promote self-serving agenda at the expense of development and interest of the working masses, together with bureaucratic running of government that provide fertile ground for these monumental frauds. This is one of the reasons we of the SPN always call for allocations, budgets and projects to be placed under a democratic control of elected representatives of workers and communities.
This development has further confirmed our position that the creation of Local Development Council Areas (LCDAs) was meant and not for development of these areas but to accommodate political stooges and hangers-on of the ruling Action Congress, now APC,
We hold that the massive corruption in the Local Government Councils just like in the state and federal government largely contribute to the poor state of infrastructure or lack of them in all the communities across Lagos State and the country. Most of the roads in the communities in Lagos are in deplorable state, schools are dilapidated or ill-equipped, mass housing policy is non-existent, etc. Very little or nothing suggests the presence of these LGAs in terms of developmental projects while the public officials do not only receive outrageously jumbo salaries and allowances but also continue to loot public funds with impunity.
We are dead sure that if a thorough probe is carried out on all the Local Government Area Councils and the Lagos Council Development Area Councils, more damning and scaring corrupt practices will be revealed.
We demand a probe panel to be comprised of elected representatives of workers and communities with the mandate to investigate Local Government finances and purported projects. We call on the working people and youths to ensure that all officials found culpable must be prosecuted.
We hold that only a mass party of working people with socialist program as well as transparent and democratic management of human and natural resources planned to meet the needs of all and not the profit interest of a few is capable of sustainably moving the country forward economically, politically and socially.