Agbakoba writes national assembly: 2018 budget is unconstitutional

Olisa Agbakoba, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), says the executive did not comply with the constitution in laying the 2018 budget before the national assembly.

Agbakoba said this in letters addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives.

The human rights lawyer said sections 81 to 84 of the constitution (as amended) set out the procedure for preparing the appropriation bill.

He said the constitution requires each arm of government to lay before the national assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is harmonised as a bill and presented to the president for assent.

“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,” the letter read.

“Unfortunately, the executive has failed to comply with this procedure by laying before the national assembly estimates of revenues and expenditure for the judiciary.

“This is in spite of a subsisting federal high court decision in OLISA AGBAKOBA VS. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & OTHERS SUIT No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 that has declared this practice unconstitutional.

“We suggest that the national assembly draw the attention of the executive to the decision of the federal high court. The national assembly should request the National Judicial Council 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, harmonized as a bill and presented to the president for his assent.”

He said if the constitutional procedure is not compiled with after seven days, legal action would be taken to enforce the decision of the court.

“We are unaware if the national assembly has laid its budget estimates,” it read.

“But please note that if after seven 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.”

SOURCE: The Cable

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