2018 budget not constitutional – Agbakoba tells National Assembly

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Erstwhile president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, has told the National Assembly that the Executive did not comply with provisions of the constitution in laying the 2018 appropriation bill.

He made this observation in letters addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

The human rights lawyer pointed out that 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.

The letter reads, “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.

“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.”

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

According to the letter, “We are unaware if the national assembly has laid its budget estimates.

“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.”

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