President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, signed into law an Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary at the state level.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, who made the disclosure in a statement he made available to newsmen in Abuja, said the Executive Order No. 10 of 2020, made it mandatory that all States of the Federation should include the allocations of both the Legislature and the Judiciary in their Appropriation Laws.
According to the AGF, a Presidential Implementation Committee was constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for the State Legislature and State Judiciary in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).
He said consideration was given to all other applicable laws, instruments, conventions and regulations that provided for financial autonomy at the State tier of Government.
Malami maintained that the implementation of financial autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary would strengthen the institutions at the State tier of Government and make them more independent and accountable in line with the tenets of democracy as enshrined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended).
“The President signed the Executive Order number 10 into law based on the power vested in him as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), which extends to the execution and maintenance of the Constitution, laws made by the National Assembly (including but not limited to Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), which guarantee financial autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary”, the statement added.
It further revealed that the Order Provides that: “The Accountant-General of the Federation shall by this Order and such any other Orders, Regulations or Guidelines as may be issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, authorise the deduction from source in the course of Federation Accounts Allocation from the money allocated to any State of the Federation that fails to release allocation meant for the State Legislature and State Judiciary in line with the financial autonomy guaranteed by Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended)”.
Article 6 (1) provides that: “Notwithstanding the provisions of this Executive Order, in the first three years of its implementation, there shall be special extraordinary capital allocations for the Judiciary to undertake capital development of State Judiciary Complexes, High Court Complexes, Sharia Court of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal and Court Complexes of other Courts befitting the status of a Courts”.