2018 Budget: Agbakoba Writes Saraki, Says Appropriation Bill Unconstitutional

Agbakoba SAN

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, has described the 2018 Appropriation Bill as unconstitutional.

Mr. Agbakoba stated this in a letter written to the Senate President on Wednesday, Bukola Saraki, warning that the correct process be complied within seven days.

According to him, failure to comply with the right process will attract legal action.

The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, observed that the Executive failed to comply with the procedures of preparing budgets before the document is laid before the National Assembly.

He stated that all arms of government are supposed to present their estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year before the House of Assembly, after which it is “appropriated, harmonized as a bill and presented to the President for his assent,” but was not done.

The statement reads, “As you are well aware, the 2018 Appropriation Bill has been laid before the National Assembly by the President and discussions are ongoing on the estimates. Sections 81 to 84 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) set out the procedure for preparing the Appropriation Bill.

“The Constitution requests each arm of government (the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary) to lay before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is appropriated, harmonized as a bill and presented to the President for his assent.

“Unfortunately, the Executive has failed to comply with this procedure by laying before the National Assembly estimates of revenues and expenditure for the Judiciary. This is inspite of a subsisting Federal High Court decision in OLISA AGBAKOBA VS. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & OTHERS SUIT No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 that has declared this practice unconstitutional.

“We suggest that the National Assembly draw the attention of the Executive to the decision of the Federal High Court. The National Assembly should request the National Judicial Council to lay before it the Judiciary’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018 and the Executive be made to represent its estimates for 2018.

“In summary, the constitutional procedure for preparing the appropriation bill is that each arm of government (the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary) lays before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is appropriated, harmonized as a bill and presented to the President for his assent.

“We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid its budget estimates. But please note that if after 7 days the constitutional procedure is not complied with, we shall have no choice but to initiate legal proceedings to enforce the decision of the Federal High Court and set aside the 2018 Appropriation Bill.”

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