Akwa Ibom State Government and the 31 local councils in the state are at daggers drawn over deductions in federation account allocations to the latter by the former.
It was learnt that disagreement over the state/local government joint account between both parties boiled over last Friday as the 31 local government chairmen stormed out of a meeting where they were to be given their July allocations from the federation account by the state government.
Consequently, the council chairmen, who assumed office only two months ago, have set up a committee to formally register their position to the state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, in the hope that he will do something about the situation.
A source at the meeting attended by the state’s Accountant-General, Mr. Udo Isobara, told Vanguard that the council chairmen who grudgingly accepted June allocations, vowed never to have anything to do with last month’s allocations unless all the deductions were restored.
Isobara has, however, absolved himself of any blame, saying he was acting on orders of the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bassey Akpan.
State Chairman of National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Comrade Felix Okon, said on the issue: “I cannot speak of any deductions because I am not a member of the Joint Account which is a legislation by law, and by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am not aware of any money deducted from the councils. The Chairmen were voted in office, and they should speak for themselves.
“The only deduction I know of is the salary for teachers, and deductions for pensions and gratuities. As the Chairman of NULGE, workers are not owed, we contribute 7.5 per cent as pension and gratuity, and government pays its share of 7.5 per cent. So if there are deductions other than this, it is not known to me.”