Why Supreme Court declared Buhari’s Executive Order 10 unlawful

Why Supreme Court declared Buhari’s Executive Order 10 unlawful

The Supreme Court on Friday, February 11, declared that Executive Order 10 on the funding of State Judiciary and Legislature is unlawful and unconstitutional.

In a split decision on Friday, the majority of the court’s seven-member panel agreed that the President exceeded his constitutional powers in issuing the EO10.

The Supreme Court judgment was on the suit filed by the 36 States against the FG on the funding of the Judiciary and the constitutionality of the EO10.

Six out of the seven members of the panel proceeded to void and set aside the EO10.

The majority decision also held that it was not the responsibility of the Federal Government to fund the capital and recurrent expenditures of the courts created for States under Section six of the Constitution.

All the seven members agreed that the States were not entitled to be refunded all they have spent before now to maintain those courts.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law, Executive Order No 10 of 2020; cited as “the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary Order, 2020”.

A key provision of the said order also seeks to enforce the financial autonomy of the legislature and judiciary of the states.

It gives power to the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from the allocations; due to a state from the Federation Account; any sums for the legislature or judiciary of that state; which the state fails to release to its legislature or judiciary as the case may be; and to pay the funds directly to the state’s legislature or judiciary concerned.

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In a judgment by Supreme Court Justice Muhammed Dattijo, the apex court held that the EP10 was inconsistent; with the 1999 Constitution and therefore unconstitutional, illegal, null void and of no effect whatsoever.

The six Justices are Muhammed Dattijo, Centus Nweze, Hellen Ogunwumiju, Emmanuel Agim, Ejembi Eko and also Adamu Jauro.

They held that Nigeria is still a federation and the 1999 Constitution it operates is a federal one.

“The Constitution provides a clear delineation of powers between the state and the Federal Government.

“The President has overstepped the limit of his constitutional powers by issuing the Executive Order 10.

“The country is run on the basis of the rule of law,” Justice Mohammed said in the lead majority judgment”.

According to them, President Muhammad Buhari over-stepped his bounds with Executive Order 10; and thereby engaged in a breach of the constitution and usurpation of powers of heads of other arms of government.

 

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