Court stops FG’s deductions from federation account, oders refund to Rivers

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday stopped the federal government from further making deductions from the Federation Account to fund its own agencies not listed in the 1999 constitution for direct allocation.

The court declared as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional the direct allocations made so far by the government from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.

Delivering judgment in a suit instituted by the Rivers state government to challenge the unlawful deductions from the Federation Account, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that section 161 and Section 162 of the 1999 constitution were glaringly breached by the federal government in making direct allocation to the Police Trust Fund from the Federation Account.

The judge specifically held that Section 162 of the 1999 constitution is clear and unambiguous to the effect that only the federal, states and local governments shall be allocated funds directly from the Federation Account.

The court also held that Section 4 of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act 2019 relied upon by the government to justify the unlawful deductions from the Federation Account is inconsistent with Section 162 of the 1999 constitution which recognizes only the federal, states and LGs.

Justice Mohammed while upholding that the suit of Rivers state against the unjust deduction had succeeded, ordered that the fund belonging to Rivers but used to fund Nigeria Police Trust fund by the federal government be refunded to the state.

The court upheld all arguments of a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu (SAN), who stood for Rivers state that where the provisions of the 1999 constitution are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their ordinary meanings.

The Rivers state government had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/511/2020 and instituted on its behalf by Daudu challenged the decision of the federal government allocating funds directly from the Federation Account to fund some of its agencies claiming that the decision violated section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

Justice Mohammed said, “I have carefully perused the issues raised by the plaintiff and I agree that no other person or entity is permitted to benefit direct fund allocation from the Federation Account.

“Section 4 of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act 2019 relied upon by the defendant to make direct fund allocation from the Federation Account is untenable as it runs contrary to section 162 (3) of the 1999 Constitution which expressly stated that the federal government, state governments and LGs shall derive direct fund allocation from the Federation Account.”