Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The 36 states of the federation have approached the Supreme Court with a suit challenging the Presidential Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 signed in May by the President, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the funding of the courts.
The 36 have argued through their court documents that president Buhari has by virtue of the Executive Order he signed on May 20, 2020, had pushed the Federal Government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal, to the state governments.
In addition, the plaintiffs have urged the court to hold that the Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 has been issued in clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 Constitution, which place the responsibility of funding the listed courts on the shoulders of the Federal Government.
In addition, the 36 states, who filed the action through their respective attorneys general, are seeking an order of the Supreme Court quashing Buhari’s Executive Order for being unconstitutional.
The states are further pressing for an order of the apex court to direct the central government to make a refund to them for funding the capital projects
The suit was filed on their behalf by a consortium of nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Augustine Alegeh (SAN).
It listed the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) as the sole defendant.
Alegeh has told the court that his clients 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 fund.”
According the plaintiffs, “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.