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By NBF News
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There are indications that local government chairmen are making moves to push for a constitutional amendment that will free councils from the strangle-hold of state governors. The National Assembly is set to commence the new phase of the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Sources within the National Assembly confirmed to our correspondent that about 400 council chairmen across the nation are pushing for local government autonomy and have submitted their requests to the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.

The Senator Ike Ekweremadu-led Senate Committee on Constitution Review had already included local government autonomy in its agenda for constitution amendment.

Most of the local government chairmen, according to a source, forwarded their requests to the committee 'based on their suspicion that state governors may want to move against such autonomy in the constitution amendment process'.

A member of the committee, who did not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent that 'we have received requests for this autonomy from about 400 out of the 774 local government areas in the country. The council chairmen have registered their grievances with the joint-account system. They are claiming that the system is depriving them of the required funds to take care of the needs of the people at the grassroots level.'

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business and member of the Constitution Review Committee, Senator Ita Solomon Enang (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East), also confirmed to Daily Trust that requests for local government autonomy had been submitted for consideration in the constitution amendment.