By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€”The Supreme Court, yesterday, suspended, indefinitely, hearing in multiple lawsuits instituted by 20 state governments, challenging the Federal Government over what they called â€œillegal diversionâ€ of huge sums of monies in excess of N4 trillion from the Federation Account.
The decision of the Supreme Court followed a request by the governments of the 20 plaintiff states who dragged the Federal Government to court over the alleged illegal deduction.
The Federation Account from which the Federal Government was accused to have illegally deducted over N4.4trillion is a creation of section 162 (1) of the 1999 constitution into which all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation are paid.
Such revenues include those from signature bonus, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, sales of government properties, privatization, education tax, waivers and concessions, among others.
But proceeds from personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or Department of government charged with the responsibility for foreign affairs and the resident of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja are not paid into the special account.
By virtue of section 162 (3) of the 1999 constitution, â€œany amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account shall be distributed among the Federal and state governments and the local government councils in each state on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.â€
But the Federal Government was accused by the plaintiff states to have deducted huge sums of monies from the special account without the consent of state and local governments as envisaged by section 162 (3) of the 1999 constitution.