From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi( SAN), has called for scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), as part of measures to strengthen local government administration. 
Fagbemi made the call, on Monday, at national discuss on Nigeria’s Security Challenges and Good Governace at Local Government  Level, organized by the House of Representatives in collaboration with the UK International Development.
The AGF, who identified the SIECs as the major impediment to development at the local government levels, said their functions should be transferred to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).
He explained that “the local governments in many instances have continued to suffer fiscal emasculation in the hands of state governments. In all these unwholesome abuses, Sections 7 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution among others have been an escape route for many State Governments to manipulate the Local government and reduce same to a mere department in the Governors’ office.
“State joint local government account (SJLGA) has been the anti-development instrument used to frustrate every progressive and patriotic action to make the Local Government work since the return of the Country to democracy in 1999.”
The AGF added “the ability of LGAs to perform developmental functions, particularly in a federal system like Nigeria revolves around the nature of the relationship between the federal, state and local government
“Any major reform of the Local Govt System will invariably require the alteration of the Constitution and other incidental legislations touching on Local Government administration.
“On the other hand, constitutional alteration can only be achieved through consensus building and commonality of purpose between the three tiers, as with the three arms of Government. We are therefore challenged to play our respective roles, when called upon to do so. The best time to act is now.
“To achieve this, many experts have proposed that there is need for the scrapping of the state independent electoral commission. Their functions and powers should be transferred to the independent national electoral commission because the state independent electoral commission remain an appendage to every incumbent governor. This is perceived as the root cause of the problem of local government administration in Nigeria. “

VERIFIED: Nigerians (home & diaspora) can now be paid in US Dollars. Earn up to $17,000 (₦27 million) with premium domains. Click here to start