You might ask, what are the functions of local government in Nigeria? Let’s find the answers in this post.
Local government in Nigeria was established by law in 1976 with a view to serve as local authority with the constitutional powers to work independently of any external influence, be it the state or the federal government.
Interestingly, one of the purposes of establishing the local government, was to encourage participation of the people at the grassroots in administering their affairs.
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What Is Local Government in Nigeria?
The term, local government is simply, government at the grassroots or at local level, and was established by law to exercise control at the local level of governance, that is within a defined local area.
Since local affairs or local government administration is exercised through what I may called; ‘representative council’, it has the powers to exact labour for a well-defined purposes as it may so desires, as well as, imposed taxes.
Features of Local Government in Nigeria
Local government, being the smallest unit of administration in Nigeria has some features and, characteristics, and these characteristics include some substantial or specific powers, like imposing taxes and incurring expenses, formulating and implementing policies that would be of immerse benefits to the people at the grassroots, local government is expected to act without any interference from external control, in other words, it exist as an autonomous entity, while executing developmental programs at the grassroots level.
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Local government authority has a statutory responsibility of generating revenue at the local level for the purpose of running the government at that level and as well, promotes the welfare of the people within these communities. And since local government only has powers within a defined jurisdiction, it therefore, means it has the powers to administer a particular population, and as well, gives authority.
Since local government is known and called the third tier of government, it has elective members, the chairman and the councillors, as well as, some political appointees such as supervisors.
Functions of the Local Government in Nigeria
By law the functions of the local government is well defined. The 1999 constitution has explicitly provided for the functions of the third tier of government and these functions of Local Governments are seen in the Exclusive list, as well as Concurrent list.
A glance through the exclusive list will show you some of the local government functions, and these functions under the exclusive list are functions performed only by the local governments.
In other words, these functions in the exclusive list are majorly for the local government to carry out, whereas in the concurrent list, these functions are shared functions, what do I mean?
Local government functions under the concurrent list are shared by the state government and the federal government, therefore, these functions are performed in collaboration with state and federal governments.
In most cases however, the state government or federal government do carry out these functions for the local government in event where the local governments are yet to be constituted. Let us consider some of the major functions of local government as we continue.
1. Making Recommendations to the State
This statutory functions of the local government is very crucial perhaps, the local government has a sole right to making consideration, as well as, making recommendations where necessary to state government.
Such considerations and recommendations may rightly go to Economic Planning Commission. Why? The economic planning of a state upon which the local government is a unit is expected to be holistic.
This is all about economic development of the State, the local government is a part particularly, when the areas of powers of the local government and the authority of the tate are affected. In so doing the commission concerned will have to work on proposals such that will address the issue.
2. Collection of Rates
The local government has the sole right to collect rates of all kinds within the local government, some examples of these rates include, television and radio licenses.
3. Establishment of Homes for Destitute
One of the responsibilities of government has been to cater for the welfare of its citizens particularly, the disadvantaged members of the society.
Going by this, as government at the grassroots level, it is the functions of the local government to cater for these set of persons by establishing destitute homes for these set of society’s members.
More so, provisios are made for places like cemetries or burial grounds, and it is the duty of the local government to ensure that this facilities are maintain as at when due.
4. Licensing Vehicles and Bicycles
Local government is expected to generates revenue for the purpose of running the local government and as well, promote the welfare of the people.
Local government does this by generating revenue through licensing carts, trucks, bicycles, canoes, wheel barrow among others.
5. Establishment of Markets
The local government also established markets and ensures that these markets are maintained since they are source of revenue generation in the local government.
Asides the establishment of markets, the local government also established motor parks with public toilets, other places such as slaughter houses are also established and it is the local government that regulates the activities of these establishments.
6. Construction and Maintenance of Roads
Good road network is generally viewed a major enables for development since it stimulates the socioeconomic activities of a people hence, road construction has remains government priority and local government is not exempted.
It is the function of the local government to provide these public utilities to the people such as construction and maintenance of roads, construction of drainage, provision of street lighting, recreation centers like parks and gardens and open spaces among others.
7. Naming Of Streets and Roads And Numbering Of Houses
Local government, as one of its functions is saddling with the responsibility of naming roads and streets at the local level. Apart from giving names to streets, local government also gives numbers to houses.
8. Levying Of Private Owned Houses
Every government believes it can generate revenue to run its government, and one of the way to achieve this is to levy. In this case, what the local government does is to go into assessing houses that are privately owned in order to levy the owners.
9. Registration of Births, Marriages And Death
Local government also takes responsibility of ensuring that all births and marriages and deaths within it area of jurisdiction are registered. This is very crucial, given the fact that, it is one of the avenues for the local government to generate income.
Local government is the third tier of government, which through its statutory functions, has been able to bring government to the door step of rural dwellers, which has made possible for these people to participate in the actual running of the government.
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