FUNDING OF CAPITAL PROJECTS: SUPREME COURT RESERVES JUDGEMENT IN SUIT AGAINST FG
Written by Samson Ojeniran on October 5, 2021
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has reserved Judgment in the suit filed by the 36 states governors seeking an order of the Apex court to compel the Federal Government to take up funding of Capital projects for state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary court of appeal.
The states also sought an order from the Apex court to compel the federal government to pay them 66 billion naira being an amount they have so far spent on capital projects for the 3 courts.
The panel of seven Justices led by Justice Muhammad Dattijo was told that the three courts are courts of the Federation and as such the funding of their capital project should come from the consolidated revenue fund of the Federation.
The states’ counsel Augustine Alegeh argued that the salaries and emoluments of the judges of the three courts are paid by the federal government, and as such, section 81 of the 1999 constitution should be invoked to place the responsibility of funding capital projects on the federal government.
However, the Attorney General of the Federation represented by Tijani Gazali opposed the request of the state and urged the apex court to dismiss it
The AGF predicated his argument on the fact that while the issue of salary and emoluments are expressly stated in the 1999 constitution as the responsibility of the federal government, the section was silent on the capital project.
Gazali stated that since the state has been responsible for the funding of capital projects, for the courts since 1999, the position should be maintained.
He urged the justices to dismiss the suit and award substantial costs against the states.
However, Adgboyega Awomolo, Olisa Agbakoba and Sebastian Hon, who was invited as friends of the court, argued in support of 36 states, submitting that the federal government should be responsible for the funding of a Capital project for the 3 courts since they are courts established by the federal government.
While Mahmud Magaji and Musibawu Adetumbi, also invited as friends of the court, aligned themselves with the AGF that capital projects for the 3 courts should be funded by the states and not the Federal Government.
After listening to all the arguments, Justice Muhammad Dattijo reserved judgement on the matter until a later date
Editor: Paul Akhagbemhe