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Governors Not Happy With PMB For Granting Financial Autonomy To Assemblies, Judiciary…May Head To Court

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President Muhammadu Buhari may have pulled a fast one on state governors with Friday’s signing of Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 which grants financial autonomy to State legislature and the judiciary.

Many governors were left shocked by the president’s action coming so soon after the financial autonomy granted local governments by this same administration.

The aggrieved governors see the signing of the Executive Order as a breach of ongoing talks between them and the Presidency on how to go about the autonomy.

Some of them are not ruling out litigation on the matter.

But senior lawyers hailed the president for signing the Executive Order, while Presidential Adviser, Ita Enang, explained that the order was to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution.

The Presidency had, through the late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, engaged the governors on the autonomy models for the next constitution review.

The negotiation had not been concluded before Kyari died.

The governors also claimed that the alleged “hasty” issuance of the order will derail the collaboration between the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Conference of Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly.

The two groups had established a committee to work out modalities for autonomy just before the Covid-19 crisis

It was learnt that some of the governors may go to court to contest the constitutionality and legality of the Executive Order.

Others may use pressure groups to sue Buhari for a proxy legal battle.

Sources said some of the governors, especially those in the opposition, felt Buhari is using Executive Order to subvert the constitution with a view to caging them.

Their views on the new Executive Order are:

*It constitutes a breach of the understanding with the Presidency;

*It is illegal because only amendment to the 1999 Constitution can guarantee such autonomy;

*Executive Order does not have legislation force; and

*It is an encroachment of the laws on the disbursement of the funds in the Federation Account

A PDP governor told The Nation last night that they were ” shocked by the decision of the President to issue this Executive Order, which is more of a decree of the military era than a constitutional process.’

“The order cannot stand, we will go to court to challenge it,” he said

“Our party is not opposed to autonomy for the legislature and the judiciary but it must be a constitution review Process.

“But we have a growing pattern of sliding into dictatorship with Executive Orders. We won’t allow the subversion of the 1999 Constitution.”

Another governor said: “The order was least expected, it is an abuse and a violation of the ongoing talks between the Presidency and the governors. We have been working out the type of autonomy models to adopt. And the late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, represented the President at our sessions.

“We are also collaborating with the Conference of Speakers on how to go about the autonomy. I think the Presidency should have waited for all these consultations to end.”

A governor from the North-East said: “A true autonomy for the legislature and the judiciary cannot be by fiat. The National Assembly has constituted a Constitution Review Committee; the Presidency ought not to be preemptive.

“It appears dialogue is now too late; we will surely go to court because the President has no power to personally legislate on autonomy for these two arms of government.”

Another source said: “the governors, who are still battling with the effect of the financial autonomy granted local governments by this same administration had hoped to stop the financial autonomy of the legislature in particular.

“This is to ensure their continued control on the lawmakers.”

The governors had been opposed to the autonomy bill which was passed by the 8th National Assembly and signed by the president.

The law had remained unimplemented but the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, worked hard with the support of the leadership of the National Assembly and the Justice Ministry, to pull the latest surprise.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), said in a statement that: “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); taking into consideration all other applicable laws, instruments, conventions and regulations, which provides for financial autonomy at the state tier of government.

“The implementation of financial autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary will 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 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, authorize 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)”.

“Based on the Executive Order at the commencement of this Order for implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislature and State Judiciary in line with section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended), all States of the Federation shall include the allocations of the two Arms of Government in their Appropriation Laws.

“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 Court.”

Why Buhari signed executive order for autonomy of state legislature, judiciary

President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, said on Saturday that the executive order is to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution.

Enang, who was Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), told The Nation by phone that Executive Order 10 outlines the procedure and process for the implementation of the Constitutional provisions for the autonomy of state legislature and judiciary which was passed by the 8th National Assembly and signed into law by Buhari.

Enang said the signing of the Executive Order was even more necessary now in managing the independence of each arm of Government at this time of Coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “what will happen is that the money of the Judiciary in the state budget and the money of the legislature in the state budget will now, each month, as it returns from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting, in addition to the internally generated revenue pro rata will be released by the Accountant General of the State to the legislature through the Clerk of the House who is the accounting officer of the State House of Assembly and the Chief Registrar of each State Legislature who is the accounting officer of the Judiciary.

“The essence of this (Executive Order) is to make sure that the problem we used to have in the past, despite the amendment of the Constitution, is resolved such that the Executive does not starve the Judiciary or the Legislature of funds because the legislature is an arm of government, the Judiciary is an arm of government, the executive is an arm of government and it is these three arms of government that make the government.

“The executive is the executive arm of government. The Governor heads the executive arm of government at the state level and he is the chief security officer of the state.

“He has an overbearing influence. But in terms of each of them being accountable and managing its own affairs, the Constitution provides that each of them should have its own independence in terms of funding.

“In summary, it is the same position that we have at the Federal level now where when there is Federation Accounts Allocation and the money of the Federal Government is given, the Accountant General of the Federation will release the money that is meant for the Judiciary to the Judiciary through the National Judicial Council.

“The National Judicial Council through its Secretary will now make the money available to the Head of the Supreme Court, the money of the Court of Appeal to the Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, the one for the National Industrial Court goes to the Chief Registrar of the National Industrial Court to be administered at the instance and direction of the President of the National Industrial Court.

“The money meant for the Federal High Court goes to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court for the administration of all the Federal High Courts in the entire country.

“The one of the Customary Court of Appeal and the Sharia Court of Appeal goes to the respective courts.

“Therefore, it is the same model which the Committee recommended and the President has signed it as an executive order.

“It is important to emphasize that the President is not making a new law. He is simply laying out the modality for the implementing the Constitution which the State Houses of Assembly and their Governors has agreed and it was passed.

“He is laying out the procedure, the process and the ground norms for the implementation. So it is not a new law.

“The Executive Order is laying out the procedure for the implementation. It also allows each state to make their own budgets to comply with it.”

He added: “By Monday or Tuesday, the Committee will come up with the details. It was a Committee that was set up by Mr. President with the Attorney-General as the Chairman and with myself as the Secretary and the Chief Judge of Kogi State and the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State as members representing the state Judiciary. “

Buhari in December 2018 set up a Presidential implementation committee on autonomy of state legislature and state judiciary.

The committee was charged with the responsibility of driving the actualisation of the autonomy granted to the legislature and judiciary at the state level in the Constitution.

The Committee was chaired by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, with Senator Ita Enang as Secretary.

Other members of the Committee included the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Nasir Ajanah and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Kate Abiri as representatives of state judiciary, the Grand Khadi of Gombe State Sharia Court of Appeal, Khadi Abdullahi Maikano and the Acting President of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Customary Court of Appeal, Abbazih Musa Sadeeq.

Also represented on the committee were Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN).

Buhari, while inaugurating the Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary at the State House, Abuja, said the panel was expected to ensure that the independence of the judiciary and legislature is maintained.

Buhari had, in his speech, during the inauguration said: “We are committed to strengthening our democracy by ensuring separation of powers among the three arms of Nigerian Government, even at the State levels.

“Furthermore, we have identified the need to sustain our constitutionally guaranteed Federal system of government by building capabilities not only at the Federal level but at all the Federating Units.

“This Committee has therefore been set-up, as a major reform of this administration, to ensure that the autonomy granted to the legislature and judiciary at the State levels is maintained, pursuant to Section 161 of the 4th Alteration to the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

– Nation

President Buhari

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Rivers: Tensions Grow As Wike, Fubara’s Supporters Clash, Baby Hurt

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A baby was reportedly tear-gassed and became unconscious on Wednesday as supporters of the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, clashed with the loyalists of ex-governor Nyesom Wike in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that the clash happened during a government medical outreach in the Eliozu community, Obio/Akpor LGA.

Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that trouble started when officials of the state Ministry of Health were carrying out a medical outreach for women at the Eliozu Health Centre.

It was gathered that no sooner had the programme started than some supporters allegedly loyal to the factional Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, arrived at the venue to find out the reason for the gathering.

The venue is said to be near the residence of Amaewhule, who is the leader of the 27 lawmakers loyal to Wike.

But supporters of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Obio/Akpor LGA, Chijioke Ihunwo, loyal to Fubara, who were at the venue allegedly stopped them from accessing the venue, leading to a heated argument and subsequent clash.

Following the fisticuffs, stones were pelted from several directions, as the medical outreach was disrupted abruptly.

A few minutes later, a team of anti-riot policemen arrived at the scene, firing teargas to disperse the opposing groups and quell the situation from getting out of hand.

It was gathered that a child was tear-gassed during the mayhem and became unconscious.

The situation led to the relocation of the medical outreach to a state-owned medical facility at the Waterlines axis of Port Harcourt where the programme was launched.

Reacting to the incident, the Obio/Akpor CTC Chairman, Chijioke Ihunwo, accused Amaewhule, of leading policemen to disrupt the outreach.

Ihunwo stated, “This morning there was an incident at the Eliozu Health Centre where the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, led some security men to disrupt a programme by the Ministry of Health.

“A few minutes later, some policemen came and started beating up our women, shooting tear gas at pregnant women who were at the Health Centre.

“We want to say that Obio/Akpor Local Government Area will not be under siege. We want to call on the President, Bola Tinubu that the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of the FCT are tarnishing the image of your government.

“We are calling on you to rein them in so that Rivers State can have peace. Let the FCT Minister concentrate on his job in Abuja and leave our dear governor alone.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident.

Iringe-Koko, in a short message to our correspondent, said the police responded to a distress call over the scenario, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

She stated, “A distress call was received from the health centre in the Eliozu community today, 24th July 2024, where supporters of two separate political factions were engaged in a fight.

“The police responded by sending operatives to the scene to restore law and order.

“The police deployed anti-riot tactics, including the use of canisters, to disperse the crowds. An investigation into the matter has been initiated.”

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Protest: Nnamdi Kanu, Diaspora Voting Make List As Organizers Unveil 15 Demands

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Organizers of the planned nationwide protest, scheduled for August 1 to August 10, have unveiled their key demands from President Bola Tinubu’s government.

The nation’s economic situation has propelled citizens, particularly the youths, to plan a mass protest nationwide.

Despite efforts by the government to quell the move, the youths are insisting on embarking on the protest in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

Former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore, who is one of the organizers of the movement, forwarded the demands to our correspondent on Wednesday.

The looming protest titled, “Days of Rage”, “EndBadGovernance” is aimed at drawing the attention of the Federal Government to the economic situation of the country.

Among other things, the intending protesters want the FG to return the fuel subsidy, address issues in the power sector, release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, and allow for diaspora voting during general elections

According to Sowore, Nigerians are asking the FG to “Scrap the 1999 constitution and replace it with a people-made Constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a sovereign National Conference followed by a National Referendum.

“Toss the Senate arm of the Nigerian legislative system. Keep the House of Representatives and make lawmaking a part-time endeavour.

“Pay Nigerian workers a minimum wage of nothing less than N250,000 monthly.

“Invest heavily in education and give Nigerian students grants not loans. Aggressively pursue free and compulsory education for children across Nigeria.

“Release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally and demilitarize the South East. All ENDSARS and political detainees must also be released and compensated.

“Rationalize public owned enterprises sold to government officials and cronies.

“Reinstate a corruption-free subsidy regime to reduce hunger, starvation and multidimensional poverty.

“Probe past and present Nigerian leaders, who have looted the treasury, recover their loot and deposit it in a special account to fund education, healthcare and infrastructure.

They are also demanding the “Restructuring of Nigeria to accommodate Nigeria’s diversity, resources control, decentralization and regional development.

“End banditry, terrorism and violent crimes. Reform security agencies to stop continuous human rights violations.

“Establishment of a special energy immediately to drive massive corruption-free power sector development.

“Immediate reconstitution of the electoral body, INEC to remove corrupt individuals and partisan hacks appointed to manipulate elections.

“Massive investment in public works and industrialization will help employ Nigeria’s teaming youths.

“Massive shake-ups in the Nigerian judiciary to remove cabals of corrupt generations of judges and judicial officers that continue denying citizens access to real justice.

“Diaspora voting”.

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday appealed to Nigerians to shelve the planned protest, urging youths to keep faith and believe in the ability of his administration to transform Nigeria.

 

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Stop Demarketing Dangote Refinery, Indigenous Companies – MAN Cautions FG

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has cautioned the Federal Government from demarketing local industries.

The Association also called for caution from major actors, government agencies, and regulators in the oil and gas sector of the economy regarding the Federal Government-Dangote Refinery saga.

MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said government agencies that provide regulatory oversight functions should promote an enabling business environment for local investments to thrive.

He said no regulatory agency should cast a shadow over a homegrown investment like the Dangote Refinery.

According to him, the allegations of poor quality, and monopolistic tendencies levelled against Dangote Refinery by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) were unsubstantiated.

Ajayi-Kadir stressed that local investors in Nigeria, particularly the Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) play a vital role in driving economic growth, paying taxes, creating jobs and fostering development within the country. As such, these investors must be protected and given the necessary support to thrive in this business environment.

He said a business colossus like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, with investments in diverse sectors of the economy and across the Continent of Africa, should be accorded all needed support to grow and invest in more sectors and positively impact the well-being of the people.

 

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