The Ijebu-Ode branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has formally requested the records of federal allocations received by the local government chairman, Mr. Babatunde Emilola-Gazal, since 2021.
This request was made in a letter signed by Mr. Moruff O. Balogun, Esq., the Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the NBA, and it was addressed to the chairman on Tuesday.
The NBA cited the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, as the basis for their request, aiming to address the ongoing controversy regarding the alleged diversion of local government funds by the state governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun.
In their letter, the NBA stated, “This application/request is primarily intended to clarify the ongoing controversy concerning the alleged diversion of the Local Government statutory federal allocations.”
This move by the NBA comes after residents of Ijebu-Ode gave the local government chairman a 48-hour ultimatum to account for the federal allocations or face protests. The residents accused him of mismanaging the funds and failing to fulfill his campaign promises.
In response, the chairman denied these allegations, attributing them to his political opponents. He also defended the governor, who was accused by a suspended local government chairman, Mr. Wale Adedayo, of diverting N10.8 billion from the local governments. The chairman claimed that the governor had consistently allowed the local governments to use their allocations without interference.
The NBA has specified that it expects the local government chairman to provide the records of the federal allocations within seven days, in accordance with the law, or face legal action.
The letter concluded with a warning: “Kindly note that we may proceed to a Court of competent jurisdiction in line with Section 2 (6) of the same Act should the ultimatum stated above expire without compliance. This is in the interest of peace, transparency, and accountability.”
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