The Speaker of Ebonyi House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, has said that the state legislature has been enjoying financial independence under Governor David Umahi administration.
He disclosed this during a radio programme in Abakaliki, the state capital, while reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of an executive order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary at the state level.
Nwifuru described the new order as a welcome development amid global health crisis, noting that financial autonomy is an existing practice in the state.
In his words, “This has been a struggle in the country between the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of government to be autonomous financially and administratively.
“Fortunately in Ebonyi, the governor understands the principles of separation of powers and within six months in office he constituted the state house of assembly service commission.
“The law governing the commission was passed in 2011 but no one ever constituted the commission. I presented the matter to the governor and within six months in office, he approved and constituted the commission immediately.”
He further stated that “Once the section had come into place after the president’s assent, whatever is due to Ebonyi assembly will go to it and it will make a financial management law in the house.
“The governor assented to this law which entails that every fund meant for the house must be transferred directly to it.
“The president has given more clarifications and directives to ensure that the financial autonomy is implemented 100 per cent.
“We are, however, lucky in Ebonyi because what the President signed is exactly what is happening in the state.”
According to him, Buhari’s executive order is coming six months after the conference of speakers of state assemblies in Nigeria charged him to implement the fiat.
The speaker, however, added that the independence and financial autonomy as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria is not being implemented in many states, because several governors have been accused of embezzling funds without adequate checks.
He said the effect of the order could mean that federal government allocations for the state and judiciary will cease to be controlled by governors.