Connect with us


Despite Huge Revenue, Lagos Local Councils Underperform, Worsen Residents’ Pains




Constitutionally, the local councils are meant to construct and maintain roads, streets, drains, parks, open spaces, naming of roads, streets, as well as provision and maintenance of public transportation and refuse disposal.
It is also the duty of councils to establish and maintain cemeteries, burial grounds and homes for the destitute or infirm in addition to establishing, maintaining and regulating markets, motor parks and public conveniences.

Local councils are also meant to collect taxes, fees along with licensing of bicycles, trucks- other than mechanically propelled trucks-, canoes, wheelbarrows and carts. It is also within the purview of local councils to control and regulate outdoor advertising, movement and keeping of pets of all descriptions, shops and kiosks, restaurants and other places for sale of food to the public, and laundries.

For many of the about 16 million Lagos residents, of the outlined constitutional duties of the councils, the state government has taken responsibility for a number of such responsibilities of the local councils. Yet, the few tasks left with the local councils to carry out, like the construction of council roads, and drainages, de-silting the drainages, establishing, maintaining and regulating markets, motor parks and public conveniences among others, the councils have not lived up to expectations.

For instance, in Oriade LCDA, virtually all the roads are in deplorable state. From Olayemi Street to Saibu, Fashiro, Moradeyo, Balogun, to Muritala streets to mention a few, residents are wondering if the local council exists.

Yet the 20 local councils recognised by the Federal Government received N401.09 billion as federal allocation between February 2020 and December 2022. Between February and December 2020, the 20 councils got N107,594,962,381.88; from January to December 2021, they got N132,575,539,174.01 while between January and December 2022, the councils got N160,928,933,449.86.

The 20 local councils are expected to share the allocations with the 37 LCDAs created out of them or execute projects and programmes within these LCDAs. What the councils and LCDAs generated as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) within these three years is not known, because the councils’ books are not open or made public. Attempts by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to get the information are often met with resistance with no information often made available to those who made the requests.

Ironically, despite the huge federal allocations to councils in Lagos State, from Amuwo Odofin to Mushin, Alimosho or Badagry to Agege, the awful state of council roads, blocked drainages, and dirty markets, parks and roads stare one in the face. Just as vehicle owners and motorists bear the brunt of the deplorable roads because they have a telling effect on their vehicles with repeated calls at the mechanic workshops, so also are residents bearing the impact of government failure at the local level.

Surulere Local Council seems to be a shining light, with many of its roads tarred or in interlocks with streetlights and drainages. It is, however, not because the local council chairman in Surulere has been outstanding in terms of delivering the dividend of democracy to the people. The former lawmaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who represented the council area at the ninth national assembly, was responsible for the impact felt by the residents in terms of improved infrastructure. Major roads like Anjorin and Cole streets within Surulere remain neglected.

Describing how unpalatable the situation is, a resident of Lagos, Akeem Ogunjobi, alleged that the number of roads and streetlights among other development that Gbajabiamila facilitated in Surulere Local Council in his last four years may have not been matched by the 57 local councils and LCDAs chairmen put together within same period.

It was even gathered that a road, Adedamola Ojomo Close, within Surulere Local Council, has been under construction for more than a year now. Yet, the council chairman mounted a signpost at the entrance of the road, depicting the uncompleted road in a completed state.

CDAs to the rescue
Aside from monthly allocations, these councils are very aggressive about IGR, but many residents have resorted to self-help to bridge infrastructure gaps within their domains, by executing projects individually or through Community Development Associations (CDAs).

During the yearly community day celebration in Lagos, over 80 CDAs were identified to have executed various projects, ranging from roads, electrification, drainage, water to mention a few.

From highbrow areas in Eti-osa and Ikeja to rural areas like Epe and Badagry, CDAs completed projects worth hundreds of millions of naira, many of which should have been done by the councils.

For instance, in Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, one of the CDAs, Isheri North CDA in 2020 was identified to have constructed 8km embankment, 1.5km road, installed five 500kva transformers, electrified the entire community, procured 40-armed security officers, graded roads, mounted streetlights, built CDA secretariat, constructed and renovated its drainages, as well as purchased industrial pumping machines.

In the same year, under Isolo LCDA, Greenfield CDA constructed two gatehouses and 48 interlocking roads, installed 10 500 KVA transformers, solar power streetlights and constructed a power substation. It also installed CCTV cameras, developed a well detailed area map of the CDA, dredged the canal within its vicinity, purchased and installed electrical concrete poles as well as constructed 1.3km drainage to the canal. When the state government verified the projects mentioned above, it recorded that the CDA had three other interlocking roads ongoing.

Similarly, in Ikorodu Local Council, Elepe Royal Estate CDA graded a road, installed streetlights, constructed two roads with concrete floor, energised its transformer, as well as constructed drainages and cleared its canal.

Ayobo-Ipaja LCDA was not left out, as Peace Estate CDA constructed drainages, and 21 culverts, graded 21 roads, purchased and installed two 500kva transformers, purchased and installed 100 concrete poles.

Within Eti-Osa East LCDA, Seaside Estate CDA constructed the community main entrance gate, purchased 500kva transformer, constructed 1.2km road with interlock stones, erected four boundary gates in the community, constructed drainages and fence around the transformer, purchased and installed solar street lights.

Also, in Igando-Ikotun LCDA, New Era CDA purchased aluminum conductors, graded 21 roads, purchased a 500 KVA transformer, constructed a mountain step, nine culverts, one borehole, and drainage.

In Oriade LCDA, New site Estate CDA purchased 500kVA transformer, constructed 920m drainage, graded road, cleared drainages, purchased 20LT and 15HT concrete poles, constructed culverts and purchased cable wire.

Omotoye Estate CDA in Orile-Agege LCDA also constructed 110m long and 8m wide interlock road from the entrance gate, 8m culverts with asphalt, replaced 12 wooden poles with 12 concrete poles, and constructed entrance gate.

These CDAs executed these projects without huge federal allocation. Ironically, council chairmen not only enjoy federal allocation but also generate huge revenue. An executive of a CDA, who pleaded anonymity, for fear of victimisation by the state government, provided insight to how his CDA executed a number of projects. He revealed that the projects were done without financial support from the government.

He disclosed that his CDA was able to execute the projects through donations and levies. He, however, said that a larger part of the fund for the projects were products of generous donations from residents.

According to him, the residents resorted to self-help because the government failed to provide the appropriate infrastructure for the community. He said that before they started executing the projects that bridged the infrastructure gap, residents had unpalatable experiences driving or walking on the community’s streets, because it used to be deeply waterlogged and marshy.

He said: “Sometimes, we task ourselves for a particular project demanding that every resident contributes an amount to execute the project. It is only the security levy that is yearly and paid by all residents; landlords and tenants.”

He also revealed that an element of competition was created among residents to drive development. According to him, residents on each street were told to buy the interlocking stones needed to construct their streets while the CDA provides the labour, sand and other materials needed to complete the road.
16 million residents resort to self-help

According to him, the residents resorted to self-help about six years ago when the government failed to come to the community’s aid and residents were daily bearing the brunt of infrastructural gap.

“As individuals in Lagos, you are your own local council. When I bought my property, there was no access to the property. I was the first to develop his property on my street. For two years, I was parking my car in a friend’s house. At one point, I built a bamboo track to link my house because of a waterlogged road. We later filled the road with rubble to be able to drive to my house.

“Yet, I pay tax to the government and now government visits to demand for Land Use Tax on my property, despite constructing and still maintaining my road and the drainage.” He revealed that the government cannot say it is not aware of the infrastructural gaps in his community because monthly, the CDAs executive attend the Community Development Community (CDC) meetings where each CDA presents the infrastructural gaps in its domain to the CDC for transmission to government but nothing has come out of the effort.

He said that last year his CDA needed to buy transformers and construct drainage, each landlord was asked to contribute N350,000 towards the project. An analysis by Dataphyte in 2019 revealed that 13 out of the 20 top federal allocations receiving local councils are from Lagos State and not less than 15 of the 25 local councils that received the most from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in the last 12 years are from Lagos State.

Still, residents, traders and visitors to local councils are made to pay all forms of levies. From council parking fees, hawking fees, imported vehicles tickets, haulage and lockup stall levy are some of the taxes and levies residents and visitors pay to the councils and its representatives.

Also, gridlock is a major issue in Lagos. In the bid to contribute to easing the logjam, local councils also set up traffic taskforce and traffic units. But rather than help free points of bottlenecks of traffic, council traffic officers in Mushin, Oshodi-Isolo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun and Yaba, move about towing vehicles allegedly accused of committing traffic infractions. Residents said they are often very crude in their operation, with no rules of engagement. In most cases, alleged offenders are made to pay fines into private accounts.

For instance, along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, between Iyana-itire and Toyota bus stops inward Oshodi, trucks often park on a column of the service lane, obstructing traffic. Rather than the council traffic officers rein in the owners of the trucks or even enforce its law, it looks away. Also, commercial tricycle operators at Iyana-itire, Ilasa, Iyana-Isolo, Five Star and Toyota bus stops inward Oshodi have turned the service lane into a garage to pick passengers, thereby obstructing traffic flow. For once, the traffic unit of the Mushin Local Council that parades the corridor in three different towing vans indiscriminately impounding private vehicles has not for once called the tricycle operators to order. Yet the tricycle operators’ activities constantly contribute to the traffic snarl usually recorded on that corridor.

Across the different local councils in Lagos State, it has been observed that to generate revenue, many of the councils go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a huge part of the revenue going into private pockets. This is because the revenue collection process is devoid of accountability.

On many occasions, the revenue consultants print the tickets and where the council prints the tickets, the revenue collectors issue the tickets to residents randomly. It was also observed that many pay these levies without getting tickets. This is the case with transport unions that manage the parks and garages on behalf of the councils.

In spite of transport unions generating over a N100b yearly from parks and garages belonging to local councils, many of the councils cannot boast of a billion naira yearly IGR.
In addition, many hawkers, makeshift shop owners, cart pushers and petty traders operating by the roadside pay daily levies to the council through its representatives or consultants but often do not get ticketed for what is paid.

Recently, a lady-hawking groundnut around Mazamaza had a physical bout with a representative of the Oriade Local Council Development Area over daily levy. According to an eyewitness, the lady claimed she made a payment at Mile 2, a bus stop away, despite not having made any sales, so she was not ready to part with any money at that point. The revenue collector, on the other hand, insisted on collecting the levy, maintaining he would confiscate part of the lady’s groundnut, if she fails to pay the levy, which led to open confrontation between the two.

Findings revealed that sometimes within the same local councils and LCDAs, petty traders, especially hawkers and cart pushers are made to pay levy more than once contrary to the state’s local council law.

And the state government through the state assembly, which should keep the councils in check often, backtracks after barking. For instance, on August 6, 2022, the Lagos State House of Assembly announced it had begun the probe of the 20 local councils and 37 LCDAs to justify accountability of public funds. The then Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts (Local), Mr. Mojeed Fatai noted that the probe by the Joint Committee on Public Account (Local) and Committee on Local Government Administration and Community Affairs was to ensure accountability.

Fatai said the exercise was to make sure the funds from Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) allocated to local councils and LCDAs were expended judiciously.Yet after announcing probe commencement, the outcome of the probe was not made public. On many occasions, it usually ended in behind the curtain discussions even when the lawmakers unearth weighty infractions.

Stakeholders express concerns
When the acting Head, BudgIT Tracka, Ayo Ladipo, was asked to rate the local councils, she said that the performance of local councils in relation to their core mandate is abysmal. Ladipo said: “An example is the Ikorodu Local Council. While reviewing its 2020 and 2021 budget implementation reports, we discovered that 79 per cent of the total expenditure was for recurrent spending, and only 21 per cent went to capital expenditure, which means the focus was on administration rather than development.”

She observed that overreliance on financial resources from external parties is a huge stumbling block to local councils’ effectiveness, because they have become puppets of the state governments and salary-paying agencies.

“This over-reliance has made local councils have no incentive to improvise, and generate revenue to ensure development and sustainability.” On how local councils in Lagos could be made viable, Ladipo said that restructuring and capacity building are two critical steps. She added that local councils in Lagos should be restructured to have more independence over their affairs with little interference from the state government. She further said that the state government should perform oversight functions and should not be heavily involved in funding and administration.

“Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations should also go directly to the local councils without passing through the state government. Bypassing the state government will highly reduce the witch-hunting situation that local councils experience.

“There is also the need to improve the capacity of council officials to be effective and understand how to generate substantial revenue outside of FAAC. This will allow for improved service delivery in terms of capital infrastructure and development in their communities.”

On if Lagos residents are doing enough to make the council chairmen accountable, Ladipo noted that residents are doing their bit, but they can do better. She observed that many residents have overlooked the importance of local councils and focused on state and federal governments, allowing local council administrators to get away with a lot of misdemeanours.

“There is still a huge gap in accountability and transparency around local council fiscal data. This is because citizens, CSOs, and the media have not advocated enough for local councils to open their books. There is still a lot to be done in that regard.

“At BudgIT, our dashboard allows you to see the monthly FAAC coming into your local government and to take action with that information. That is a little of what we have contributed in that space, but there is still a long way to go.”

Also, the Programme Manager, Community Life Project, Francis Onahor said: “If you go by the functions of the local council spelt out in the fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution, you would get a mixed bag of results. For instance, one of the core functions of local councils is the construction and maintenance of roads, gardens, streetlights, drains, public highways, and parks.

“In terms of the inner roads, in some places, local councils have performed above average while in other places the same cannot be said to be true.”

On what could be responsible for the poor or excellent performance of local councils, Onahor cited poor funding and interference by the state government.

“For Lagos State, I believe there is an existing agreement between the state government and the local councils regarding the latter’s operations. This could be why the state government would continue to ensure that the ruling party gets a clean swipe at the council polls always, even to the extent of modifying the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission’s act sometime in the past when the electoral process was already on.”

On how local councils in the state could be made more viable, Onahor said that the most obvious thing would be to grant local councils some modicum of fiscal independence.

“Secondly, let the council chairmen do a proper assessment of the needs of their councils and produce a development plan that citizens could buy into.

“Thirdly, ensure transparency and accountability. For instance, only members of the inner circle can say how much each local council generates as IGR monthly. The councils should publish its budgets on their websites.

“Fourthly, a free and fair electoral process. Lagos State can adopt the 2022 Electoral Act for its election. As a state of excellence, it could set the pace by conducting an election where all eligible voters are allowed to vote to decide who leads them as council chairman and represents them as councillors.”

A report in 2021 by YMonitor accountability project on the performance of local councils in Lagos State conducted through its The Future Project (TFP) revealed that more than 80 per cent of residents are not satisfied with their local councils’ performance.

“The local council structure in Lagos is faced with administrative deficiencies and lack of proper and effective delivery of socio-political services. A large number of the people are of the opinion that the performance of local councils in Lagos across the expected basic functions needs a lot of improvement. More than half of the people surveyed are not satisfied with the performance of their local council administration in the last three years. Among the few who are satisfied, they are mostly satisfied with traffic management and parking facilities across the local councils in Lagos,” YMonitor report stated.

Attempts to get the Chairman of Chairmen of local councils in Lagos State, Mr. Kolade Alabi, to ventilate on the challenges the local councils are grappling with delivering on its mandate were not successful. He did not pick his calls nor replied to the message sent to his WhatsApp.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Anambra State Assembly Passes 33 Motions In 100 Days



THE Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a total of thirty-three motions during its first 100 days of sitting.

The Speaker of the House, Mr. Somtochukwu Udeze, who spoke at a ceremony to mark the occasion, also said a number of bills would soon be passed by the house.

Udeze listed the bills to include Anambra State Oil Producing Area Development Commission Bill, 2023, Anambra State Peace Building and Conflict Management Agency Bill, 2023, Anambra State Safety Bills, 2023 and Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement, and Administration Bill, 2023.

He stated that the House has also addressed key issues through motions, such as ecological and erosion control, road construction and rehabilitation, agriculture, healthcare, and initiatives to improve the living conditions of the people.

Udeze said: “I am delighted to announce that within our first one hundred days, we have successfully drafted a comprehensive legislative agenda.

“This agenda will guide our actions and policies, serving as our roadmap for the next four years. It outlines our vision and objectives, ensuring that our legislative efforts are directed towards the betterment of Anambra State and its citizens.

” We have worked closely with our Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo to ensure good governance in Anambra State.

“My appreciation goes to my esteemed colleagues for their unity, peaceful disposition, and unwavering commitment to their legislative duties.

“I acknowledge and appreciate the cooperation received from the legislative staff and call on them to remain dedicated to their responsibilities.

“My administration has maintained an open-door administrative policy for both lawmakers and legislative staff, promoting productivity and collaboration.”

“To ensure our commitment to transparency and accountability, we have initiated the practice of sharing legislative updates with the public through various media channels.

“This approach ensures that our constituents are well-informed about our legislative activities, promoting transparency and public engagement.

“We have undertaken significant reforms in the handling of private member bills and these reforms are aimed at streamlining the process of introducing and debating private member bills and ensuring that every member of this honourable Assembly has an equitable opportunity to contribute to the legislative agenda.

“This reform emphasizes our commitment to transparency by making the legislative process more accessible and understandable to the public.”

The Speaker expressed appreciation to Governor Soludo for the ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction work at the legislative building complex and offices, as well as his unwavering commitment to implementing the House’s resolutions in line with his transformation agenda.


Continue Reading


Sagamu Cult Clash: Ogun Assembly Member, 6 Others In DSS Net



Security operatives in Ogun State on Wednesday tracked six suspected cultists, allegedly involved in the violence that erupted in Sagamu at the weekend to the official residence of a member of the State House of Assembly.

The member, representing Sagamu State Constituency 1, Hon. Damilare Bello Mohammed, was alleged to have provided shelter to the fleeing cultists.

A team of security operatives, in a sting operation after a tip-off, arrested the suspects in the premises of the lawmaker.

Those arrested, according to sources, include Damilare Bello Mohammed aka DRE, Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade.

They are presently undergoing interrogation at the Department of State Service (DSS).

Sources revealed that many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from the suspects.

It would be recalled that Hon. Bello was arrested by the DSS for masterminding the violent protest that took place in February this year in Sagamu over the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

During the protest, irate youths vandalised about 10 banks and other public infrastructures.


Continue Reading


Gunmen Kill Admission Seeker, Raze Osun Palace



Tragedy stuck in Okanla community in Irepodun Local Government Area of Osun State on Sunday as some men bearing arms stormed the palace of Olokanla of Okanla, killed an admission seeker, Ibrahim Qudus, before setting the building ablaze.

Uncle to the deceased, Jimoh Qadri, who spoke to PUNCH Metro, said the assailants were led by a man identified simply as Naim, who was the only one among the attackers that did not cover his face during the incident.

Qadri, who could not give a reason for the attack, said the perpetrators had initially stormed his personal house, and met his absence before they proceeded to his father’s house, late Oba Jimoh Adigun, the Olokanla of Okanla, that he used as palace before his demise.

He said, “I was not at home, but my wife called me that gunmen numbering about 20 had stormed my house in Okanla area very early on Sunday. She told me they all covered their faces, but one of them bearing Naim did not cover his face and my wife saw him. The attackers were after me and they searched around the house.

“When they could not find me around, they vandalised the building and proceeded to my family house, where my late father, Olokanla of Okanla used as his palace. It was there they saw Qudus, a son to my elder brother, who was living in Ibadan, until he recently returned home to seek university admission, after writing UTME.

“He was killed and they put his corpse in my car parked within the premises and set the vehicle ablaze. They also set the palace ablaze. The reason behind the attack is not known to me. But it may not be unconnected to the tussle over land in our area. The family is pleading with the security agencies to ensure the perpetrators of this crime are apprehended.”

When contacted, the Osun Police Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, who said the Commissioner of Police, Kehinde Longe, had visited the scene of the crime, added that more operatives had been deployed to the area.

“Someone was burnt with a car around Okanla, the area is between Ifon and Ilobu. We have deployed our men to the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order. The Commissioner of Police has visited the scene,” Opalola stated.


Continue Reading


Copyright © Estreet On TV 2023