Labour unions, including the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), on Monday took to the streets in Kogi state to demand autonomy for the local government.
The peaceful protest, carried out in Lokoja, had the participants carrying placards stating their support for the granting of autonomy to the third tier of government.
The protest march terminated at the State House of Assembly building where the union officials submitted to the Speaker, a letter containing their demands.
The Speaker, Matthew Kolawole, promised quick action and said the Kogi lawmakers would not jeopardise the process.
Speaking at the rally, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Onuh Edoka, urged the state Houses of Assembly to vote in support of granting autonomy to the local government.
He said: “Local government is one tier of government that had not been allowed to exist on its own, am happy that NLC has thrown its weight to autonomy for local government, today we have come under one umbrella to ensure that the struggle for local government autonomy is achieved.
“Now that local government autonomy had been entrenched in the constitutional amendment, it is now left for the 36 state houses of assembly to complete what the national assembly has done, it is now clear that the national assembly has supported autonomy, any shortchanging will make it clear that our own brothers and sisters who are from our various local governments have shortchanged us.
“It is not just voting for autonomy alone, they should vote for autonomy to give us political emancipation, financial autonomy at the local government level.
“Whether we like it or not, we are politically stocked, whether we like it or not, we are financially shortchanged, whether we like it or not, we are financially handicapped, what we are asking for is liberty, not the kind you give with one hand and take from the other hand”.
The Medical Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) was also involved in the march.