The 36 states of the federation have asked the Supreme Court to set aside the Presidential Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 which President Muhammadu Buhari signed on May 22, 2020.
The order mandates state governments to fund the judiciary, and inadvertently grants financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary in the 36 states of the federation.
It also empowers the accountant-general of the federation to deduct funds for the state legislature and the judiciary from the federal allocations to the states.
However in the joint lawsuit filed by the states’ respective Attorneys-General with the Attorney-General of the Federation as the sole defendant, the states argued that the order violates sections six and eight (three) of the 1999 constitution which put the responsibility of funding the courts on the federal government.
Asides insisting that the 36 states have been funding the capital projects in the state high courts, sharia court of appeal and the customary court of appeal since 2009, the states also asked the apex court to make an order compelling the federal government to refund the money spent by the states since 2009.
Augustine Alegeh, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who is leading a team of lawyers on behalf of the states said;
“Since the 5th of May 2009, the defendant had not funded the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, sharia court of appeal and the customary court of appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, apart from paying only the salaries of the judicial officers of the said courts.
“The plaintiffs’ states have been solely responsible for funding the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, which the defendant has failed and/or refused to funds.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing.