By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Sixteen Local Government Chairmen in Ekiti state, on Tuesday, dragged the Federal Government and Governors of 36 states of the federation to court over the approval of $1billion from the Excess Crude Account to support the ongoing war against insurgency in the North East.
The plaintiffs, in the suit they filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, are seeking order of injunction restraining FG and the governors, their agents, servants, privies, representatives in interest, howsoever called, from giving effect to the appropriation and/ or approval of appropriation of the $1 billion or any other sum whatsoever, from the Excess Crude Account of the Federation, as contained in the decision made on December 15, 2017, unless and by means of statutory allocation by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
They also urged the court to declare that the approval of the sum of $1billion by the 36 state governors to purportedly execute the constitutional duty of the Federal government, which has been sufficiently funded from the Federation Account, without their consent, was ultra vires, unlawful, null and void.
Aside the AGF and the 36 state governors, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission was also cited as a defendant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1264/17, which the plaintiffs filed through their lawyer, Mr. Ola Olanikpekun, SAN.
The Ekiti LG Chairmen behind the suit are; Deji Ogunsakin (Ado LGA); Bola Alonge (Ikere LGA); Lanrewaju Omolase (Ekiti South West LGA); Dapo Olagunju (Irepodun/Ifeelodun LGA); Samuel Adeniyi (Ekiti East LGA); Olumide Falade (Ise/Orun LGA); Sade Akinrinmola (Gbonyin LGA); Tayo Ogundare (Oye LGA); Chief Ayodeji Arogbodo (Ido/Osi LGA) and Taiwo Oguntuase (Emure LGA).
As well as Kolawole Omotunde (Ekiti West LGA); Bolaji Jeje (Efon LGA); Adesola Adeyanju (Ikole LGA); Ganiyu Bakare (Ilejemele LGA); Adeniyi Adebayo (Moba LGA) and Abiodun Dada (Ijero LGA).
They plaintiffs are seeking for an order declaring that in the discharge of its constitutional duty to safeguard the security and territorial integrity of Nigeria, FG must be funded in accordance with its Appropriation Act and by means of due accruals from the Federation account only.
The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that they are entitled to full share of all revenue accrued and accruable to the Federation Account and the Federation Excess Crude Account or any other Account whatsoever operated by and for the Federation of Nigeria, including the sum of $1,000,000,000 (which was purportedly approved for the expenditure of the Federal Government by the 1st-37th defendants at the 83rd, National Economic Council meeting of December 15, 2017, in accordance with section 162 of the 1999 constitution and the provisions of Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account) Act.
As well as, “A declaration that the 1st -37 defendants’ appropriation and /or approval of appropriation of the sum of $1billion (One billion United States Dollars) from the Excess Crude Account of the federation made at the National Economic Council meeting of December 12, 2017 without regard to the consent of the 38th defendant (the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission), the plaintiffs (integral part of the Local Governments of the Federation of Nigeria) and the due appropriation of the various States’ Houses of Assembly, is unconstitutional, unlawful, ultra vires, null, void ab initio and of no effect whatsoever.
The want the court to among other things, determine, “Whether by the provisions of sections 153 (1) (h), 162 and paragraph 18, part 1 of the third schedule to the 1999 constitution, the 1st -37th defendants can lawfully appropriate and or approve the appropriation of funds in the excess crude account of the federation of Nigeria, without affecting, reducing or obliterating the plaintiffs’ lawful share of proceeds from the federation accounts.
According to them, if answer to the question is in the affirmative, the court should further determine; “Whether the 2nd defendant can lawfully appropriate and /or approve the appropriation of funds in the excess crude account of the federation of Nigeria, without the consent and /or consultation of the plaintiffs.
Likewise, “Whether in the discharge of the federal government’s constitutional duty of safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of Nigeria, (as mandated by section 217 of the 1999 constitution, the Federal government can lawfully resort to funding other than by means of its Appropriation Act”.
Meantime the case is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.