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Nigeria: 36 States File Supreme Court Suit Against Buhari

The 36 states of the federation filed a lawsuit against the Buhari administration on Monday, seeking to halt a new executive order that strips the federal government of the responsibility of funding courts.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in May signed an Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 to enforce the financial autonomy of the legislature and the judiciary at the state level.

But the states said in the lawsuit that the federal government is forcing its responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal, and the Customary Court of Appeal, on the state governments.

The lawsuit, filed at the Supreme Court, Abuja, takes aim at what nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria and six lawyers, led by a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Augustine Alegeh, called the federal government’s unlawful action to escape being responsible for funding the courts.

This, they argued, is a clear violation of Sections 6 and 8(3) of 1999 Constitution, which make funding of the listed courts a responsibility of the federal government.

However, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, backing the president, had earlier said the order was constitutional.

“It is based on the power vested in him as the president 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,” Mr Malami said.