Governor Ayodele Fayose says he has “approached a court today to challenge the approval”, given to the federal government by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the fight against insurgency in North east Nigeria.
The governor made the revelation after an emergency meeting by the governors and the 36 speakers of the state Houses of Assembly at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he openly disagreed with the NGF chairman on the approval for the funds.
Although Fayose did not give further details of the suit he filed, a statement by his special assistant of new media, Lere Olayinka, further said that sixteen Local Government Chairmen in Ekiti state have sued the Attorney General of the Federation and Governors of the 36 states over the approval of the funds.
The statement read in part: “They want an order of injunction restraining the Federal government and the 36 states governors, their agents, servants, privies, representatives in interest, howsoever called and by whatsoever name designated, from giving effect to the appropriation and/ or approval of appropriation of the sum of $1 billion or any other sum whatsoever, from the Excess Crude Account of the Federation, as contained in the decision made on December 15, 2017 unless and by means of statutory allocation by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
“In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1264/17, the council Chairmen asked the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to declare that the approval of the sum of $1 billion by the 36 state governors to purportedly execute the constitutional duty of the Federal government, which has been sufficiently funded from the Federation Account, without their consent is ultra vires, unlawful, null and void.
“The suit which was filed today at the registry of the court by counsel to the plaintiffs, Ola Olanikpekun (SAN) also listed the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission as a defendant”.
Olayinka continued, that “They are equally asking for an order of court declaring that in the discharge of its constitutional duty to safeguard the security and territorial integrity of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria, being the 1st defendant’s principal (AGF), must be funded in accordance with its Appropriation Act and by means of due accruals from the Federation account only.
“A declaration that the 1st -37 defendants’ appropriation and /or approval of appropriation of the sum of $1billion (One billion United States Dollars) from the Excess Crude Account of the federation made at the National Economic Council meeting of December 12, 2017 without regard to the consent of the 38th defendant (the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission), the plaintiffs (integral part of the Local Governments of the Federation of Nigeria) and the due appropriation of the various States’ Houses of Assembly, is unconstitutional, unlawful, ultra vires, null, void ab initio and of no effect whatsoever.
“The Council Chairmen also asked the court for a declaration that they are entitled to full share of all revenue accrued and accruable to the Federation Account and the Federation Excess Crude Account or any other Account whatsoever operated by and for the Federation of Nigeria, including the sum of $1,000,000,000 (which was purportedly approved for the expenditure of the Federal Government by the 1st-37th defendants at the 83rd, National Economic Council meeting of December 15, 2017, in accordance with section 162 of the 1999 constitution and the provisions of Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account) Act.
“It is their contention that “whether by the provisions of sections 153 (1) (h), 162 and paragraph 18, part 1 of the third schedule to the 1999 constitution, the 1st -37th defendants can lawfully appropriate and or approve the appropriation of funds in the excess crude account of the federation of Nigeria, without affecting, reducing or obliterating the plaintiffs’ lawful share of proceeds from the federation accounts.
“If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative, the plaintiffs want the court to determine “whether the 2nd defendant can lawfully appropriate and /or approve the appropriation of funds in the excess crude account of the federation of Nigeria, without the consent and /or consultation of the plaintiffs.
*Whether in the discharge of the federal government’s constitutional duty of safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of Nigeria, (as mandated by section 217 of the 1999 constitution, the Federal government can lawfully resort to funding other than by means of its Appropriation Act.?
“The suit which is yet to be assigned to any judge for adjudication is supported by a 14 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by Everest Igweokolo, a litigation executive in the law firm of Messrs Ola Olanikpekun”.
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