agbakoba

A former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) today said the Executive has not fully complied with constitutional provisions in preparing this year’s Appropriation Bill with regards to the Judiciary.

He said he would initiate legal proceedings and pray the court to set aside the 2018 budget if the right thing is not done within seven days.

Agbakoba, in January 3 letters to Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has laid the 2018 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly and discussions are ongoing on the estimates.

He said sections 81 to 84 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) set out the procedure for preparing the Appropriation Bill, but that it was not complied with as far the Judiciary is concerned.

“The Constitution requests each arm of government (the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary) to lay before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year, after which it is appropriated, harmonised as a Bill and presented to the President for his assent.

“Unfortunately, the Executive has failed to comply with this procedure by laying before the National Assembly estimates of revenues and expenditure for the Judiciary.

“This is in spite of a subsisting Federal High Court decision in Olisa Agbakoba vs. Attorney-General of the Federation & Others, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 that has declared this practice unconstitutional,” Agbakoba said.

The frontline human rights activist urged the National Assembly to draw the Executive’s attention to the Federal High Court’s decision.

He urged the National Assembly to send a request to the National Judicial Council (NJC) to lay before it the Judiciary’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018.

Agbakoba said the Executive should be made to represent its estimates for 2018.

“We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid it budget estimates. But, please note that if after seven days the constitutional procedure is not complied with, we shall have no choice but to initiate legal proceedings to enforce the decision of the Federal High Court and set aside the 2018 Appropriation Bill,” Agbakoba said.‡