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Presidency Adopts Strategies For Financial Autonomy Of State Legislatures, Judiciaries

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The President Muhammadu Buhari government has adopted strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy of state legislature and state judiciary.

The adoption was made a 2-day retreat organized by Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary.

The event held on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th May 2019, at the Congress Hall Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

A communique issued at the retreat is copied below:

Preamble

Following the Assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration) in June 2018, granting financial autonomy to States’ Legislature and Judiciary, it was observed that it was honoured by the various State Governments, more in breach, than in compliance.

As a result, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR inaugurated a Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary (“The Committee’’) on 22nd March, 2019 to fashion out a workable national strategy for the implementation of financial autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary in accordance with the provisions of Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration) whereby funds appropriated to these two tiers of Governments at the State level, are released to them directly.

Upon inauguration, the Committee adopted its work plan and held a number of technical meetings, sub-committee meetings, strategic consultations, etc., which culminated into the 2-Day Retreat to provide a broad based platform for stakeholders to brainstorm and articulate an effective national strategy for the implementation of autonomy of States’ Legislature and Judiciary.

The Retreat was declared open by His Lordship, Hon. Justice (Dr.) Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, the Ag. Chief Justice of Nigeria, who was represented by the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Hon. Justice Rosaline Bozimo, OFR ( Retd). The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN was represented by Mr. Tayo Akpata, Solicitor –General and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice.

Goodwill messages were delivered by Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker House of Representatives, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, H.E Abdul – Aziz Yari, Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum represented by H.E. M. A. Abubakar, Bauchi State Governor, and Dr. Clement Nkwankwo, Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC). The Secretary of the Committee, Senator (Dr.) Ita Enang, delivered the welcome address, on behalf of the Chairman.

The Retreat was attended by a cross section of stakeholders from the Legislature, Judiciary, Representatives of Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, Representatives of Parliamentary Staff Union of Nigeria (PASAN), Civil Society Organizations, among others (List of Attendees is attached).

Papers were presented by Resource Persons on topics germane to the terms of reference of the Committee which elicited useful and robust contributions from critical stakeholders.

At the end of the Retreat, Participants and Stakeholders adopted the following Resolutions:

  1. Commend His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for the bold step in signing into law the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration) and for inaugurating the Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary as a clear demonstration of his commitment to give effect to the financial autonomy of the Legislature and the Judiciary at the State Level;
  2. There are various levels of minimal compliance in various States but all fall short of the expected compliance, as Budget performance across 36 States of the Federation show that whilst the least allocations to the State Judiciary in the past three years was 0.6 percent of the Budget of the entire State, the highest allocation was 4.89 percent and therefore urge the Governors as the Heads of the Executive Arm of Government to begin full implementation of the financial autonomy granted the Legislature and the Judiciary;
  3. Adopt the Budgeting model operating at the Federal level where the sum due to the Judiciary and the Legislature are captured as first line Charge in the Budget laid before and passed by the Legislature;
  4. That the Budget proposal of the Legislature and Judiciary should be defended before the relevant Committees of the Legislature;
  5. That the total sum, both Capital and Recurrent, approved in the Annual Budget of the State, be released monthly on a pro–rata basis by the Accountant General of the State, directly to the Heads of the Legislature and the Judiciary, and Heads of Judicial Service Committee or Commission;
  6. That the budgeted sum, Capital and Recurrent howsoever described, be released to the Judiciary to be spent by the Judiciary on the projects, programmes and capital development of the Judiciary, including recruitment and training of personnel. And so for the Legislature;
  7. That the current practice in some States where appropriated Recurrent Expenditure due the Judiciary and Legislature in the budget, are released to the Judiciary and Legislature and the Capital components are warehoused in the Executive is hereby abolished;
  8. That the Model Budget Template of the Judiciary and Legislature, the strata of line consultations and inter Arms, as well as Inter-Agency pre-budget consultations and front loading as already done in some states, be adopted;
  9. That the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is appreciated for its commitment to the implementation of the financial autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary in Accordance with the 4th Alteration to the 1999 Constitution (as amended);
  10. There shall be created a State Allocation Committee comprising the Commissioner of Finance, the Accountant General of the State, the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, the Chief Registrars of High Courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Courts, the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission/Committee and the Secretary of the State Assembly Service Commission if any, for the purpose of determining the amount due to each Arm of Government based on the budgetary provision but subject to the funds available to the State;
  11. The retirement benefit and pensions of judicial officers of Superior Courts of records in the State should be paid by the National Judicial Council as they receive their salaries and allowances from the NJC while in office;
  12. Encourage all State Houses of Assembly to pass Funds Management Law or Budget Process Law by whatever name called, as a legal framework that will ensure judicious budgeting and use of funds accrued to the State.

The communique was issued and adopted at Abuja at the end of Retreat this 17th Day of May, 2019.

It was signed by the following persons:

  1. Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice & Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee.
  2. Senator (Dr.) Ita Enang, Presidential Liaison to the National Assembly (Senate), Secretary, Presidential Implementation Committee.
  3. Senator David Umaru, Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – Member
  4. Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari, Chairman, House Committee on Federal Judiciary – Member
  5. Hon. Justice Nasiru Ajanah, CON, Chief Judge, Kogi State – Member
  6. Hon. Justice Kate Abiri, CON, Chief Judge, Bayelsa State – Member
  7. Hon. Kadi Abdullahi Maikano Usman, Grand Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Gombe State – Member
  8. Hon. Justice A. M. A. Saddeeq, Acting President, Customary Court of Appeal of the FCT – Member.
  9. Alhaji Ahmed Idris, the Accountant General of the Federation – Member
  10. Alh. Ahmed Gambo Saleh, Secretary, National Judicial Council – Member
  11. Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly & Chairman, Conference of Speakers – Member.
  12. Rt. Hon. Peter Abel Diah, Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly and Deputy Chairman, Conference of Speakers – Member
  13. Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, FCIArb, President, Nigeria Bar Association – Member
  14. Mr. Asishana Okauru, Director General, Nigerian Governors Forum – Member
  15. Alhaji Mahmood Sali Yunusa, Commissioner of Finance and Chairman, Body of Finance Commissioners – Member
  16. Dr. Torese Agena, Body of Clerks – Member
  17. Mr. Chike Adibuah, Civil Society Organisations – Member.
  18. Marwan Mustapha Adamu, mni, President, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) – Member.
  19. Comrade Hadi Bala, President, Parliamentary Association of Nigeria – Member.
  20. Hon. Justice H. Y. Heman, Chairman, Body of Chief Judges of States.
  21. Mr. Dayo Apata, Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice.
  22. Charles Luri Bala Esq. – Head of Secretariat

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