May 22, 2024

Group sues NASS, CBN, AGF, others over cybercrimes fund

Why I can’t sack Awomolo, Body of Benchers' chair — Judge

By Henry Ojelu & Henrietta Ibe

The Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, PSAN, and its President Boniface Okezie have filed a suit against the National Assembly over the constitutionality of the cybercrimes fund created by the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Amendment Act 2024.

Joined in the suit as co-defendants are the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Attorney-General of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation and the Office of the National Security Adviser.

In the suit No. FHC/L/CS/866/2024 filed on their behalf by Olisa Agbakoba Legal, OAL, at the Federal High Court Lagos, the group wants the court to determine whether it is constitutional for the National Assembly to enact an amendment to the Cybercrimes Act 2015 to bypass the constitutional provision regarding public revenues which are to be remitted into the Federation Account and appropriated in line with the constitution.

The group also wants the court to determine the constitutionality of  section 44(2)(a) of the Act which mandates a levy of 0.5% of electronic transactions of all bank customers to be deducted by commercial banks and payment services banks and remitted to the National Cybercrimes Fund domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, to be administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The group argues that section 162 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides for the collection and domiciliation of public revenue into the Federation Account and its appropriation as prescribed by the Constitution. Section 59(1) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) requires approval from the National Assembly for all expenditure of public revenues, to be included in the annual Appropriation Bill.

According to the group, “By Sections 59 and 162 of the Constitution, all expenditure on public revenues, must be included in the annual Appropriation Bill laid by the President and approved by the National Assembly.

“Any laws made by the National Assembly that creates revenues, and prescribes their administration, disbursement, and direct their spending and by passing the requirement of legislative approval, are null and void.”

No hearing date has been fixed for the case.