The 36 states of the federation have asked the Supreme Court to overturn Presidential Decree No. 00-10 of 2020 that President Muhammadu Buhari signed on May 22, 2020.
The ordinance mandates state governments to fund the justice system and inadvertently grants financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary in the 36 states of the federation.
It also empowers the general accountant of the federation to deduct funds intended for the state legislature and judiciary from federal allocations to states.
However, in the joint lawsuit filed by the respective state attorneys general with the Federation attorney general as the sole defendant, the states argued that the ordinance violates articles six and eight (three) of the 1999 constitution which put the federal government’s responsibility for funding the courts.
In addition to insisting that all 36 states fund capital projects in state high courts, the Sharia court of appeal, and the customary court of appeal since 2009, the states have also called for the Supreme Court to issue an order requiring the federal government to return the money. spent by states since 2009.
Augustine Alegeh, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who leads 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 new date has been fixed yet for the hearing.