Delta State Governor’s Pension Law: Supreme Court Reserves July 12 for Judgement

The 12th of July, 2024, has been reserved by the Supreme Court of Nigeria for judgement in the suit filed by a human rights activist and a former National Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr Olukunle Edun, who is challenging the judgements of the lower courts for refusing to hear on the merit the suit he filed challenging the constitutionality of some of the provisions of the Pension Law of Governors of Delta State, which was passed by the State House of Assembly awarding bogus entitlements and benefits to former Governors and Deputy Governors of the State.

The suit is Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun v Governor of Delta State & Anor with Appeal No. SC/961/2019.

Among the entitlements set out in the controversial Pension Law are residential buildings, several vehicles to be renewed every 4 years, personal staff, security aides, and State-sponsored foreign vacations, all at the expense of the State, but Edun argues that the entitlements are not a product of assessment by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission as required by law.

Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff lacked the locus standing to challenge the unconstitutional provisions, and also refused to determine the merit of the case.

At the hearing of the appeal on Wednesday at the Supreme Court, foremost human rights Lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN sought leave of the Supreme Court to appear as an amicus curia, and accordingly filed an amicus brief in the appeal. However, the appeal was heard only based on the briefs filed by parties in the appeal.

From arguments in the briefs filed by the parties and M r Falana, the decision of the Apex Court on the vexed issue of locus standi in public interest litigation will be a watershed, as many lower courts still refuse to entertain public interest cases filed by public-spirited persons who challenge obvious impunity and unconstitutional actions of the various governments and their officials.

Judgement has been reserved by the Supreme Court, for the 12th day of July, 2024.

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