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Ruling on security votes’ suit against 36 govs for tomorrow

ABUJA — The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has adjourned till tomorrow to deliver judgment on a suit seeking to declare sums often deducted from statutory allocation by governors of the 36 states of the federation as ‘Security Votes,’ as illegal, fraudulent and unconstitutional.

Justice Adamu Bello fixed the date after all the parties adopted their final briefs of arguments.

It will be recalled that a constitutional lawyer, Chief Nkereuwem Akpan, had in the suit he filed since 2010, prayed the court to, among other things, determine whether by virtue of sections 16(2) and 120 of the 1999 Constitution Cap C 23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the 36 states governors have the power, without lawful authority, to deduct monies from the statutory allocation made from the Federation Account to each or any of the states of the federation or the Federal Capital Territory under the guise of “Security Vote.”

He urged the court to determine whether the policy of security vote is recognised either by the 1999 constitution or any other law for the time being in force in the country.

Meanwhile, all the 36 states governors had since challenged the suit, saying it should be dismissed for want of merit.

Similarly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, separately challenged the competence of the suit, even as they joined the governors in asking for its dismissal.

In a counter-affidavit deposed to by one of its lawyers, James Neville Onu, EFCC, branded the suit as “frivolous, un-meritorious and worthless.”

Urging the court to dismiss the action “inlimine,” EFCC maintained that the plaintiff lacks the requisite locus standi to institute the suit.

The ICPC, through one of its lawyers, Ezeana Ijezie, argued that the plaintiff failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action against the 36 states governors, saying it had no power to inve-stigate how the defendants uti-lise the security votes they deduct from their state allocations.


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