Abubakar Malami
Abubakar Malami

 FG to Govs: Implement Financial Autonomy to State Assemblies, Judiciary

Honourable Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) has charged the states to undertake the initiative to implement financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary as provided by the Nigerian Constitution.

He gave the charge in his welcome address at a two-day retreat on Strategies and Modalities for the Implementation of Financial Autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary organized by the Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of the State Legislature and State Judiciary, on Thursday, May 16th, 2019 in Abuja

Malami, the Chairman of the Committee was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters/Secretary of the Committee, Senator Ita Enang.

According to him, ‘’the report and recommendation of the retreat will be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and implementation at the State level will start immediately in the next one-week after the resolution of the retreat”.

He explained that the outcome of the reform will enable the judiciary to deliver judgment without fear or favor. The allocation due to the Judiciary would be paid to the Judiciary account directly while that of the legislature would also be paid to legislature account directly.

He commended the large turnout of participants at the Conference noting that 34 Chief Judges, 31 Speakers were physically present while others were represented.

Deputy Senate President Prof. Ike Ekweremadu, said although the State Assembly rejected financial Autonomy for themselves in 2010 even when they put it on NASS and INEC, adding that it is an acronym that State Legislature has accepted their financial autonomy same for the judiciary.

He noted that as a successfully plan put arms on First-Line charges to the Consultative fund of the State; he is of the belief that the facts have been strengthened to better execute their Constitutional mandates without fear or favor.

Ekweremadu explained that the whole essence of Constitutional efforts by the National Assembly (NASS) has always been to strengthen the Institutions of Democracy, promote good governance and hasten National Development.

‘’Every arm of government needs adequate autonomy to deliver its Constitutional responsibilities, sadly the Local Governments joint accounts was rejected by the State Houses of Assembly. Also, the bill to strengthen L.G Administration as a tier of government by preventing recognition at any L.G Council not democratically elected preventing such unelected LG Council receiving allocation from Federation Account ‘said Deputy Senate President.

Speaker, National Assembly Rt Hon.Yakubu Dogara in his good-will message, noted that the alteration act of 2017 did not introduce the concept of the first line charge to the judiciary as it already existed in the constitution, it only introduced the financial autonomy for state, legislature by merely substituting the provision with the new provision by adding State House of Assembly.

Dogara further added that for a robust and sound democracy, Nigeria must reverse to the old Separation of Power, where there is a full independence of the arms of government.

He advised that the Legislature and the Judiciary should not work for the Executive but work with the Executive, adding that without the independence of the judiciary and legislature, democracy will be truncated.

Chairman Nigerian’s Governors Forum, Abdullaziz Yerima, represented by Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, in his goodwill message said the State Government are collectively committed to the enthronement of a strong and vibrant democracy in Nigeria and will work with Federal Government to achieve the National Implementation Strategy and ultimately ensure autonomy of the legislature and judiciary at the National level.

In his vote of thanks, Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Dayo Apata said the Committee was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on 22nd March, 2019 with three months’ timeline to submit its report.

“Today, we are here to make a presentation after the President came up with the initiative for the Committee to come up with this kind of intervention”, he explained.

He stated that the intervention is essential for the physical federalism of Nigeria and how it relates to the financial autonomy of the state, legislature and the judiciary.

Dayo Apata thanked participants, adding that the large turnout of attendance demonstrates their interest and passion in ensuring that Nigeria is a better place as it relates to the physical autonomy of the state, legislature, and the judiciary.

OGOCHUKWU IGBOAMALU

FOR: DD PRESS &PRU

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