2018 Appropriation Bill Unconstitutional, Agbakoba Writes N’Assembly

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Olisa Agbakoba

Tobi Soniyi

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has declared the 2018 Appropriation Bill unconstitutional and called on the National Assembly not to consider it.

In separate letters to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, the senior lawyer said President Muhammadu Buhari did not comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution in compiling and presenting the budget.

According to him, the president can only present the budget of the executive and not that of both the judiciary and the legislature.

He said: “Sections 81 to 84 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) setout the procedure for preparing the Appropriation Bill.

“The constitution requests each arm of government (the executive, legislature and the judiciary) to lay before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is appropriated, harmonised as a bill and presented to the president for his assent.

“Unfortunately, the executive has failed to comply with this procedure by laying before the National Assembly estimates of revenues and expenditure for the Judiciary.”

He drew the attention of the lawmakers to a decision of the Federal High Court in a suit he instituted against the federal government.

The case in reference is Olisa Agbakoba Vs Attorney General of the Federation and Others with SUIT No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013.

In the case, the court held that it is unconstitutional for the executive to prepare the budget of the judiciary.
Agbakoba consequently asked the National Assembly to draw the attention of the executive to the decision of the Federal High Court.

He said: “The National Assembly should request the National Judicial Council (NJC) to lay before it the judiciary’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018 and the executive be made to represent its estimates for 2018.

“In summary, the constitutional procedure for preparing the appropriation bill is that each arm of government (the executive, legislature and the judiciary) lays before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is appropriated, harmonised as a bill and presented to the president for his assent.

“We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid it budget estimates. But please note that if after sevem days the constitutional procedure is not complied with, we shall have no choice but to initiate legal proceedings to enforce the decision of the Federal High Court and set aside the 2018 Appropriation Bill.”

Justice A.R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja had in May 26, 2014 declared as unconstitutional the executive interference with judicial funding.

The court held that the continued dependence of the judiciary on the executive arm for its budgeting and funds release violates Section 81 (2) and Section 84(1), (2), (3), (4) and (7) of the 1999 Constitution.

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  • oyoko

    when they are drunk with they usually drink they come here and exhibit nonsense. what type of argument is this? i beg, ignore him.

  • Curtx Maccido

    Meaning this SAN don’t understand how government budget process works…he simply need to grasp the connection between National Judicial Commission/National Assembly Commission and National Budget Office …and stop writing nonsense!!! Why will anyone just ‘heat-up’ the environment out of ignorance all in the name of talking…a former NBA president? Horrible people!

    • NextChallenge

      The problem with Nigeria is lawlessness from those in office and a unitary/ tradition slavery mindset from the followers. Indeed Nigerians seem to be the architect of their problems.
      I salute Agbakoba for doing what you and I should be doing, that is to defend the constitution.

      When Peter Obi went to court to contest the fact that his tenure had not ended based on the constitution, the stupid response from many Nigerians was that we must have all state governorship elections on the same day, so anambra election cannot be held separately. Such is the mindset of those who have become prisoners of mindless Tradition.
      Today we are celebrating having some state elections separate so that we can focus resources an attention to them to ensure free and fare election.

      May God deliver Nigerians from following tradition without asking basic constitutional question.

      • Truth Konveyor

        You are talking rubbish. Agbakoba fails to appreciate the import of the judgement given in his favour. Nigeria is constitutionally bound to have ONE appropriation act each financial year. Presentation of the appropriation bill to the national assembly by the president does not in itself mean that the judiciary segment of the bill was prepared by the executive. The judiciary could have submitted their own estimates to the budget office where they are added to that of the executive as one bill.
        The definition of appropriation bill by the constitution only stipulates the role of the executive – preparing the estimates and submitting same to the legislature as appropriation bill, and the passage of the bill into law by the legislature. No role, whatsoever, was assigned to the judiciary. Remember that the constitution clearly stipulates that appropriation bill can only be an executive bill. The legislature and the judiciary has no constitutional powers to present their own budget estimates to the national assembly. And that does not, in any way, jeopardise their financial autonomy. Agbakoba has just embarked on another wild goose chase.

        • NextChallenge

          Oga, you miss my point.
          Judging by the complete level of reckless manipulation of constitutionality by this and other administration, i will salute anyone who can challenge our processes and let the courts decide who is right or wrong.

      • Curtx Maccido

        Another locomotive response! For your information the NJC/National Assembly Commission independent budget preparation process end up as a consolidation to the national budget, usually, unamended ….it is wrong for you and agbakoba to be screaming over irrelevances. Executive has never participated in judiciary and legislature budgets other that submit it for national assembly…. Stop misinterpretating the constitution and be real! All in the name of ‘noise making’ …causing confusion and stupidly discussing issues upsidedown. Horrible people

        • NextChallenge

          Oga let the court decide who is right or wrong. Mr know it all.

          • Curtx Maccido

            No one is claiming knowing anything in this case! You are even struggling to accept your ignorance in public sector budgeting and budget process…you fools engage in frivolous issues and quick to go to court a as you know your bribed/corrupt judges and justices are in the court to support your nonsenses! Horrible people

    • Milito

      The good thing is that the petitioner is more knowledgeable and respected than you or anyone in your family in the matters of the law and governance. So your ranting and disrespect on this medium due to your biases doesn’t discount anything from his petition. The people that matters will definitely consider his petition!

      All over the world and even all the past administration in Nigeria has always upheld this section of the constitution. So what justification does this your warped and senile government with stinking stains of corruption and nepotism have to flaunt the constitution and continue its barbaric disabuse of the rule of law? What happens when the table turns and this regime is no more?

      As civilized people we must continue to uphold what is constitutional or right irrespective of who it currently favors. We can’t afford to create a banana republic simply we think that it currently favors us. That’s absolute myopia!

      • Truth Konveyor

        If the past administrations have been abiding that aspect of the law (only you know the law you are talking about) as suggested by you, why did Agbakoba institute the case at the federal high court?Since 1999 all the Nigeria’s presidents have presented the budgets of the legislature, the judiciary and the executive in ONE appropriation bill.
        Agbakoba fails to appreciate the import of the judgement given in his favour. Nigeria is constitutionally bound to have ONE appropriation act each financial year. Presentation of the appropriation bill to the national assembly by the president does not in itself mean that the judiciary segment of the bill was prepared by the executive. The judiciary could have submitted their own estimates to the budget office where they are added to that of the executive as one bill.
        The definition of appropriation bill by the constitution only stipulates the role of the executive – preparing the estimates and submitting same to the legislature as appropriation bill, and the passage of the bill into law by the legislature. No role, whatsoever, was assigned to the judiciary. Remember that the constitution clearly stipulates that appropriation bill can only be an executive bill. The legislature and the judiciary has no constitutional powers to present their own budget estimates to the national assembly. And that does not, in any way, jeopardise their financial autonomy. Agbakoba has just embarked on another wild goose chase.

  • john

    Another idiotic biafraud lawyer stumbling block to progress. So you just read the Constitution. Where have you been since 1999. Because the election year is fast approaching, these sore losers are looking for any means to impede the progress buhari is making on many fronts.

    • Walker_hd752abc

      Must you insult in order to make a point?

    • Timothy

      He just woke up, or maybe he has been out of the country since 1999 and feel the need to come back yesterday. The Appropriation Bill was submitted yesterday i guess.