President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja signed an Executive Order for the implementation of financial autonomy for the legislature and the judiciary at the state level.
The new order follows a Presidential Implementation Committee constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for states’ Legislature and Judiciary in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution.
Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution states: “Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.”
The new order tagged Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 for the implementation of Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary Order, 2020 is aimed at strengthening the financial autonomy of the judiciary and legislature at the state level.
According to a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the new order will further make the two arms more independent and accountable in line with the tenets of democracy.
“The President signed the Executive Order number 10 based on the power vested in him as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended), which extends to the execution and maintenance of the Constitution, laws made by the National Assembly (including but not limited to Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), which guarantee financial autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary”, Gwandu said.
According to the statement, the Order provides that “The Accountant-General of the Federation shall by this Order and such any other Orders, Regulations or Guidelines as may be issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, authorise the deduction from source in the course of Federation Accounts Allocation from the money allocated to any State of the Federation that fails to release allocation meant for the State Legislature and State Judiciary in line with the financial autonomy guaranteed by Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended)”.
Gwandu noted that based on the new order, all states of the federation shall include the allocations of the two Arms of Government in their Appropriation Laws.
Article 6 (1) of the order provides that “notwithstanding the provisions of this Executive Order, in the first three years of its implementation, there shall be special extraordinary capital allocations for the Judiciary to undertake capital development of State Judiciary Complexes, High Court Complexes, Sharia Court of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal and Court Complexes of other Courts befitting the status of a Courts.”