Lagos based lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has faulted the constitutionality of the 2018 Appropriation Bill on the argument that it did not follow the set down procedures for preparation as stated in Sections 81 to 84 of the 1999 Constitution.
Agbakoba, in a letter dated January 3, 2018 and entitled “Is the 2018 Appropriation Bill constitutional?” sent to Senate President Bukola Saraki, vowed to drag the matter to court if after seven days the constitutional procedure is not complied with.
He said, “As you are well aware, the 2018 Appropriation Bill has been laid before the National Assembly by the President and discussions are ongoing on the estimates.
“Sections 81 to 84 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) set out the procedure for preparing the Appropriation Bill.
“The 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, harmonized 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.”
He further suggested that the National Assembly should draw the attention of the executive to the decision of the Federal High Court on the matter.
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Agbakoba added, “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.
“We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid it budget estimates. But please note that if after 7 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”, Agbakoba stated.
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