Former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has declared the 2018 appropriation bill before the National Assembly as unconstitutional.
The declaration is contained in a letter he wrote yesterday to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
According to Agbakoba, the bill violates the provisions of Sections 81 to 84 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which set out the procedure for preparing the Appropriation Bill. He threatened to initiate legal proceedings to set aside the 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 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 that declared this practice unconstitutional,” the senior lawyer said.
He advised the National Assembly to draw the attention of the executive to the decision of the Federal High Court, stressing that the National Assembly should request the National Judicial Council (NJC) to lay before it the judiciary’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018 while the executive is made to represent its estimates for 2018.
“We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid it 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,” he threatened.