Don’t deduct money from States to fund Police, others – Court tells FG.Adunni Adetola
The Federal High Court in Abuja has faulted the direct deductions made so far by the Federal Government from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, declaring the act as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
In a judgement yesterday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja court also barred the Federal Government from making further deductions from the Federation Account to fund any of its agencies that is not listed in the 1999 Constitution as a direct allocation beneficiary.
Ruling over a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/511/2020, filed by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu (SAN), on behalf of the Rivers State Government, Justice Mohammed held that the action of the Federal Government clearly breached section 162 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution which state that only the federal, states and local governments shall be allocated funds directly from the Federation Account.
The judge, therefore, held that the suit by Rivers State against the unjust deduction had succeeded and ordered the Federal Government to refund the state government its entitled allocation being used to fund Nigeria Police Trust fund.
The judge further held that even the Section 4 of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act 2019 which the Federal Government relied upon to justify its deductions from the Federation Account is inconsistent with section 162 of the 1999 Constitution.
The judge, however, declined to extend the same order for a refund to the other 35 states, claiming that Rivers State as the plaintiff in the matter did not file it on behalf of other states of the federation.
But in his preliminary objection, the Attorney General of the Federation asked the Court to decline jurisdiction in the matter as such suit ought to be filed directly at the Supreme Court.
But the judge dismissed his objection on the grounds that it was misplaced, absurd and unmeritorious.
While reacting to the judgement on Wednesday, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, described the court verdict as a resounding victory for democracy because the Nigeria.
After all, if the money is given back to us, we can still on our own say police, we want to support you with this. But not the Federal Government arbitrarily deducting our money from the Federation Account and putting it to Police Trust Fund. I don’t think that that is right and I thank God that today the court has made a clear pronouncement on it,” he stated.
We are happy that the court has said that they should refund us all the money deducted and luckily the principal parties, Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Accountant General, Attorney General Office they are all involved in the case.
“It is not about Rivers State but it is about the impunity, it is about the violation of the constitution as if anybody can wake up one early morning and just decide to do one or two things, which is wrong. And I am happy that the decision we took, we are not wrong and I thank my legal team,” he added.