The Executive Order 10, which President Muhammadu Buhari issued on the funding of State Judiciary and Legislature, was on Friday declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
In a split decision by a seven-man panel of Justices, the apex court held that President Buhari acted beyond his statutory powers.
The judgement is in favour of a suit that was filed by 36 states of the federation. The suit was upheld by six Justices, while just one member of the panel dismissed it.
President Buhari had in the Executive Order he signed on May 22, 2020, made it mandatory for all states to include allocations of both the Legislature and the Judiciary in their Appropriation Laws, in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).
But in the suit marked SC/655/2020, which was filed on September 17, 2020, the 36 States, through their Attorneys-General, challenged the legality of the Presidential Executive Order 10.
The Plaintiffs posed two legal questions for the Supreme Court to determine, following which they asked for nine reliefs.
According to their argument, President Buhari, by virtue of the said Executive Order, pushed the federal government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal, and the Customary Court of Appeal, to the State governments.
They maintained that the order was a clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 Constitution, which made it the responsibility of the federal government to fund the aforementioned courts.
Stating that they had been funding capital projects in the listed courts since 2009, the 36 states prayed the Supreme Court to order the federal government to make a refund to them, but the apex court refused to grant that relief on Friday.
Cited as the sole Defendant in the matter was the Attorney-General of the Federation.
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