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By NBF News
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Contrary to the stance Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF), the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives have declared their support for local government autonomy, saying the issue is non-negotiable in the ongoing constitution amendment.

Addressing a protest by the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) at the National Assembly complex, representatives of Senate President David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal said the National Assembly recognised that development starts from the grassroots and will do everything possible to ensure that the quest for local government autonomy is achieved.

Hon Leo Ogur, who spoke on behalf of the speaker, said the House was taking the matter of local government autonomy very seriously.

He said, 'We have actually looked at the seriousness of the provision of Section 169 (6) of the constitution. We, as a House, have insisted that the autonomy of the local government is not negotiable. We have gone to the Nigerian people, that is, the 360 constituencies, and we consulted on the issue of local government autonomy and I am convinced beyond doubt that a majority of them believe in the autonomy of the local government.

'We have played our own part to make sure that the autonomy of the local government becomes a reality, but the states' Houses of Assembly have a responsibility in respect to this amendment.

'We are convinced that development starts from the grassroots. But this job cannot be completed by the National Assembly alone; the states' Houses have a responsibly. Everybody must go back to their states to canvass because the Nigerian people believe in the autonomy of the local government.'

Senator Kabiru Gaya, who addressed the protesters on behalf of Senate president, said the Senate believes that since the chairmen are democratically elected – just like the governors, they deserve to be autonomous.