From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered substituted service on the Attorney General of the 36 states of the federation in a suit against the 36 states seeking total financial autonomy for the nation’s judiciary.
In an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/502/2021, the plaintiff, Emeka Okoye, sued the 36 states through their Attorneys- General.
Meanwhile, ahead of the hearing date fixed for December 7, the court has granted leave in favour of the plaintiff to serve the 36 state Attorneys General by substituted means by posting the originating summons and other processes through courier services to be delivered to their various addresses.
Specifically, Justice Binta Nyako had, after hearing an ex-parte motion by counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), appointed a national courier outfit, Red Star Express, as special bailiff to effect service of the originating summons and other accompanied processes on the defendants.
In moving the ex-parte motion, the senior lawyer had submitted that originating summons for service on the defendants outside jurisdiction of court issuing the writ is governed by the provisions of sections 97 and 99 of Sheriffs and Civil Process Act and not the rules of the court issuing the originating summons.
He further submitted that without the leave of the court sought and obtained, the service of the originating processes on the defendants would be null and void and liable to be set aside upon application by the defendants.
Also listed as defendants in the originating summons dated June 18, 2021, are the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
In the substantive suit, the plaintiff is seeking an order of the Federal High Court, “directing the Federation Account Allocation Committee (2nd defendant) to henceforth pay directly all monies standing to the credit of the judiciary to the National Judicial Council (NJC).