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Ebonyi speaker: We’ve been enjoying financial independence under Umahi

Ebonyi speaker: We’ve been enjoying financial independence under Umahi
May 24
22:13 2020
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Francis Nwifuru, speaker of Ebonyi house of assembly, says the legislature has been enjoying financial independence under David Umahi, governor of the state.

Nwifuru made this known during a radio programme in Abakaliki, the state capital, while reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of an executive order granting financial autonomy to states’ legislature and judiciary.

The speaker said the executive order was a welcome development for other states as it is an existing practice in Ebonyi.

“This has been a struggle in the country between the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of government to be autonomous financially and administratively,” he said.

“Fortunately in Ebonyi, the governor understands the principles of separation of powers and within six months in office he constituted the state house of assembly service commission.

“The law governing the commission was passed in 2011 but no one ever constituted the commission. I presented the matter to the governor and within six months in office, he approved and constituted the commission immediately.”

Nwifuru said the national assembly had passed the house of assembly autonomy into law – 4th alteration; section 121 (3) of the constitution.

He said “once the section had come into place after the President’s assent, whatever is due to Ebonyi assembly will go to it and it will make a financial management law in the house.”

“The governor assented to this law which entails that every fund meant for the house must be transferred directly to it,” he said.

“The president has given more clarifications and directives to ensure that the financial autonomy is implemented 100 per cent.

“We are, however, lucky in Ebonyi because what the President signed is exactly what is happening in the state.”

The signing of the executive order by the president is coming six months after the conference of speakers of state assemblies in Nigeria urged him to make such a move.

Although the amended 1999 constitution had incorporated the independence and financial autonomy for state legislature, it is not being implemented in many states as several governors have been accused of misappropriating the funds without adequate checks.

With the order in effect, it could mean that federal government allocations for the state and judiciary will now be separated from the source instead of being left at the control of governors.

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