Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has warned councils in the state to desist from illegal mounting of road blocks for the purpose of extending money illegally.
The Governor who stated this yesterday when he received a delegation of Elders from Ovia North East Local Government Area, in Government House, yesterday said government would set up a task force and anyone caught would be dealt with.
According to the Governor, “we have stopped the local governments from collection of taxes on traffic related issues. The local government act does not allow them to do so, set up traffic control units, impound vehicles and collect money from alleged violators. That has led to a lot of crisis and we told them to stay off.
“Traffic control is the exclusive prerogative of the state government as well as parking rightly or wrongly and we are trying to create a proper identity for them so that we do not turn the state to a nightmare for road users. We also want to stop them from stopping vehicles that are passing through Edo state. They ask them to produce their radio and television license. The signal transmitting to cars are not from the local governments, he said.
He said “as a government, we must ensure that we do not behave like thugs in the eyes of our employers. Those who are travelling through Edo state must have the feeling that they are travelling through a civilised and secured state. A lot of these guys who are doing this purport to be doing this on behalf of the local government, but in most cases, that money is never remitted to the local government.
“We have set a task force and any of them that we apprehend from any of our local government areas from Edo North to South to Central involved in any of these offences will prosecuted”, he noted.
Oshiomhole told the elders “I am worried about a lot of the things you have raised that have led to the underdevelopment of the local governments over the years. What we are seeing on ground is the many years of abuse, corrupt practices, of manipulation by various agencies including the state universal basic education board, and those in the Ministry of Education and also the Local Service Commission.
“The population of Ovia North East does not justify the huge overhead not only in primary education but also in the employment of the local government. The purpose of creating local government is not to collect monthly allocation and share it to employees only. The primary purpose is to develop the various localities.
The Governor said “yesterday, I directed the Local Government Service Commission Chairman to transfer out of Ovia North East at least forty percent of the staff there because a lot of those staff have no business being there whether they are medical or whatever. The just post them to health centre and in those health centres you won’t find them there.
“By the time you pay people who are not working and you pay teachers who are at home, then there is no magic the local government would do to make them perform. I believe it is time to do the right thing and I believe that you as elders of the local government appreciate that we cannot allow the situation to continue like that.
“I have told the Commissioner for Basic Education to come to see how we can reduce the teachers in that local government by fifty percent. What we will do is to look where they need teachers and send them there. Those who are not willing to go to where the jobs are can go home. We cannot keep a teacher in a school that does not exist or a school where there are no pupils”, he said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Chief Sunny Uyigue said they were there to intimate the governor of the financial hardship confronting the local government because of the overbloated workforce of teachers.
He called on the governor to give a special grant to the council to enable the local government meet its obligations to the people.