The dissolved local government functionaries in Oyo State have warned the newly-inaugurated local government caretaker chairmen against being part of an illegality allegedly perpetrated by the state government.
This was contained in a letter jointly signed by their Chairman, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye and the Secretary, Pastor Jesutoye Oluyinka.
The letter signed under the aegis of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State Chapter, was made available to newsmen on Sunday in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the letter was addressed to the chairmen, bankers to the local government councils and local council development areas (LCDAs), Heads of Local Government Administration (HLAs) and council workers.
The ALGON said that it decided to issue the warning in order not to be complicit in the illegal actions because of what it called the repercussions.
“We are compelled to openly issue this letter of caution to the purported caretaker chairmen, bankers to all the local government councils, LCDAs, civil servants in our dear state and all local government workers across our council secretariats.
“They are to strongly avoid being put under duress by the Oyo State government to partake in another man’s sin by not allowing themselves to be used to further foist what is clearly an illegal and fraudulent administration over our councils and LCDAs,” it said.
The association said that it had, in the past few months, warned the state government and Gov. Seyi Makinde to respect the rule of law and desist from towing the path of illegality.
It also warned the new local government functionaries to desist from being railroaded by politicians who, it said, were hell-bent on dividing the local councils and constituencies as their political fiefdoms and their spoils of war.
The association accused the governor of not respecting the rule of law and the courts, having illegally inaugurated an unlawful contraption called caretaker chairmen.
“We emphatically restate that there is no law in Oyo State creating caretaker chairmen’s offices over local government councils and LCDAs. The recent purported appointment of caretaker chairmen is a flagrant display of mere jokes for public grandstanding, with no force of law,” it said.
ALGON described any operation, directive, approval, disbursement, decision or step taken by the newly-appointed caretaker chairmen and their collaborators as an attempt to defraud the revenue of the councils and LCDAs.
The association added that such persons and their collaborators would be prosecuted on such acts.
It said that the management, administration and financing of local councils and LCDAs, according to the constitution and the Supreme Court, could only be validly approved, authorised and authenticated by elected local government chairmen.
“No authorisation from any caretaker chairman of any local government council or LCDA caretaker chairman or their appointees is recognised under the current administration in our country.
“Any civil servant, bank or local government staffer who honours such illegal approvals, directives or authorisations from such persons therefore renders himself/herself liable to criminal prosecution for conspiracy and fraud,” it said.
The association said that the offices of council chairmen were neither vacant nor available under the constitution for any caretaker to justifiably occupy either in law or fact.
It said that any individual who passed himself or herself off as caretaker chairman or sought to issue directives to council workers or bankers would, along with such bankers or civil servants, be acting fraudulently.
The association added that such act would be in breach of clear legal pronouncements for which such persons and their stooges would be prosecuted.
“We remind the Accountant General of Oyo State, the Ministry of Local Government and council officials that our Joint State/Local Government Accounts are under the legal regime established by law and court judgments.
“It can only be operated by the elected local government chairmen whose elections have neither been voided by any court nor by any law. You may wish to refer to the NFIU guidelines on this.
“Similarly, we remain approving signatories with the Finance and General Purpose Committees of our councils over funds due to each council.
“We equally remain the confirming signatories for payments out of local government accounts which cannot be changed without recourse to law.
“It was our valid return as elected chairmen after our elections that effectively qualified us for this role,” it said.