- Says bill is unconstitutional
Lagos lawyer and member of the inner bar, Chief Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has threatened to sue the National Assembly if it goes ahead to work on the 2018 Appropriation Bill as presented on the account that the executive did not follow the constitutional procedure in presenting the document to the lawmakers.
The lawyer has given the National Assembly seven days to return the document to the executive for the normal thing to be done or be prepared to face legal action.
Agbakoba, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) contended that all arms of government are supposed to present their estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year before the National Assembly, after which it is “appropriated, harmonized as a bill and presented to the President for his assent,” but was not done.
In a letter addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Agbakoba warned that he would go to court to nullify the appropriation bill if the correct process is not complied with within seven days.
According to the former NBA President, failure to comply with the right process will attract legal action.
The statement reads: “As you are well aware, the 2018 Appropriation Bill has been laid before the National Assembly by the President and discussions are on-going on the estimates. Sections 81 to 84 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) set out the procedure for preparing the Appropriation 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 a subsisting Federal High Court decision in OLISA AGBAKOBA VS. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & OTHERS SUIT No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 that has declared this practice unconstitutional.
“We suggest that the National Assembly draw the attention of the Executive to the decision of the Federal High Court.
“The National Assembly should request the National Judicial Council to lay before it the Judiciary’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018 and the Executive be made to represent its estimates for 2018.
“In summary, the constitutional procedure for preparing the appropriation bill is that each arm of government (the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary) lays 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.
“We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid its budget estimates.
“But please note that if after 7 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,” the statement warned.