Lawyers Urge FG to Deduct Judiciary Funds From June FAAC

Some Lawyers in Osun on Thursday urged the Federal Government to deduct funds meant for state judiciaries from the June 2021 Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). They made the call in an interview in Osogbo.

Supreme reports that the 64-day-old strike, the longest industrial action in the Nigerian judiciary was suspended on Wednesday, following a meeting between officials of the union and the National Judicial Council (NJC) led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad.

Supreme reports that courts are to re-open on June 14.

Mr Jimmy Jones,  a lawyer commended the union for calling off the strike , adding that it was a right step in the right direction .

He also urged the NJC and CJN to speed up financial autonomy for the judiciary.

”The implementation should start with the disbursement of the June FAAC to the judiciary.

“The terms and conditions reached at the meeting should be respected by all parties’

” I salute the Federal Government,  represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige , for bringing all stakeholders together toward reaching such agreement .

” I just want the governors not to breach the terms of agreement for JUSUN not to go back to the street again ,” Jones said .

Mr Okobie Najite , a lawyer also praised the Federal Government  for taking into consideration,  the Executive Order 10, the proposals from all sides and distilled them with the resolve to finally implement it.

Supreme reports that the union JUSUN had begun a nationwide strike on Tuesday, April 6, when the union directed all its members across the federation to shut down all courts after the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum earlier given over the failure of the government to implement the law.

Supreme reports that a verdict of the Federal High Court in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, had in January 2014 held that financial autonomy for the judiciary is a constitutional provision that must be complied with by the executive branch of government.

Supreme reports that on May 23, President Buhari signed into law the Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the country.

The order also mandates the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from source amount due to state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state for states that refuse to grant such autonomy.

The Attorney General of the Federation Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 made it mandatory that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

According to the AGF: “A Presidential Implementation Committee was constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for the State Legislature and State Judiciary in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).”

Supreme reports that the Nigeria Governors Forum said it will start implementing financial autonomy for the judiciary latest by May ending, a pledge that indicated that an end to the ongoing strike that has crippled the nation’s judiciary may be in sight.

The governors also called on striking members of the JUSUN to call off their two weeks old strike then.

The Chairman of the NGF, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, gave this assurance in an interview with journalists after meeting with “stakeholders” from the state judiciary and legislature at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Fayemi said the modalities for the implementation were worked out at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa.

According to him, the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, was attended by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, representatives of the judiciary, Conference of Speakers and House of Representatives.

The first line charge status, which is being respected by the Federal Government in respect of the federal judiciary, entitles the state judiciaries to get funds due to them directly from the Federation Account.

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