The struggle for local government autonomy in Nigeria

Ibrahim Khaleel from the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) was a member of the Public Services International delegation at the World Summit of the Local and Regional Leaders in Rabat, Morocco, from 1-4 October 2013.

Khaleel was very pleased to be able to bring the issues of public service workers in local government to the meeting in Rabat and to share his union’s experiences with PSI and with other municipal workers around the world.

In March 2011, NULGE embarked on a campaign to address constitutional reform in Nigeria. The objective is to make local government stronger by ensuring that workers have a say in the decisions. Khaleel told PSI that the union is proud to be almost at the last stage in their struggle.

The National Assembly has already voted in favour of the union’s position on local government autonomy. In November 2012, there was a public hearing involving the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, conducted by the Senate, followed by another hearing in the 360 federal constituencies conducted by the House of Representatives. The hearings obtained overwhelming public support for constitutional frameworks that would allow local government to become independent and autonomous.

Now the union is taking the case to the State Assemblies level in order to satisfy the constitutional provision of securing a two-thirds majority of the 36 assemblies.