Enugu - Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has directed all Local Government Caretaker Chairmen and their deputies to as a matter of policy, reside in their respective councils, adding that the era of living in hotels was over.
Ugwuanyi gave the directive during the swearing-in ceremony of the chairmen at the Government House, Enugu.
“All chairmen and their deputies must reside in their councils as the era of living in hotels and running the local government areas is over,” Ugwuanyi said.
Meanwhile, Chijioke Edeoga, the Enugu State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, has said that the new local government Caretaker Committee Chairmen inherited over N4 billion in debt.
Edeoga said at the ceremony that the debts were incurred by the elected chairmen whose tenure expired on January 4.
He said that the disclosure was necessary for the incoming chairmen to understand the enormity of financial obligations they would be faced with after their inauguration.
“What is happening here today is the result of extensive consultations, mental and physical work put in to constitute an impeccable team. It is a clarion call to duty.
“You heard the governor talk of bailout. What is being handed over to you are sets of financial obligations to grapple with, so that you can begin to address them.”
Edeoga said that acceptance to serve was a clarion call to duty, adding that it was their responsibility to prudently utilise available resources to meet the challenges ahead.
The commissioner listed the financial obligations of the various local government councils as follows: Aninri, N290 million; Awgu, N155 million; Enugu East, N365 million; and Enugu, North N207 million.
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Similarly, Enugu South,N465 million; Ezeagu, N479 million; Igbo-Etiti, N360 million; Igboeze North, N330 million; Igboeze South, N622 million, and Isi-uzo, N198 million.
Others were Nkanu East, N408 million; Nkanu West, N290 million; Nsukka, N552 million; Oji River, N175 million; Udenu, N346 million; Udi, N242 million, and Uzo Uwani, N286 million.
Responding on behalf of the Chairmen, the Chairman, Nsukka Local Government Area, Prof. Rose Onah, said it was great to be considered to serve in that capacity.
Onah said that in spite of the enormous financial challenges, they still thanked God for the opportunity.
“We have heard the enormous financial challenges and it is something to thank God for being chosen to occupy these positions of responsibility,” Onah said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three of the immediate past chairmen, whose tenure elapsed on Jan. 4, were re-nominated to serve in the new capacity.
They are Cornelius Nnaji of Enugu East, Afam Okereke of Nkanu West and Cornelius Onwubunya of Uzo-Uwani local goovernment areas.