Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has been called upon to give a directive to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to release funds appropriated for the judiciary.
House of Representatives members, Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari (Sokoto, PDP), in a motion titled: ‘Refusal of the Minister of Finance to Release Funds Outstanding to the Credit of the Judiciary,” had urged members to do the needful so that the money can be released.
The sum of N11 billion was approved for the judiciary in the 2018 Appropriation Act as against the sum of N100 billion which was proposed by the executive.
But according to Shagari, during an oversight visit of the House Committee on Federal Judiciary to the courts, it was discovered that the Minister of Finance has been withholding funds standing to the credit of the judiciary as at when due.
In his motion, Shagari, who emphasised that funding of judiciary, is on a first line charge as provided in Section 81 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, said: “Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation shall be paid and disbursed directly to the’ National Judiciary Council for disbursement to the heads of courts established for the federation and the states under section 6 of this constitution.”
The lawmaker added “that intendment of the Drafter of our Constitution is also to promote and protect the doctrine of separation of powers.
He was particularly worried that by withholding funds appropriated to the judiciary, the efficiency of the judiciary could be disrupted.
There was no dissenting voice when the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who called for a voice vote.