Edozie Udeojo ,Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 10 signed on May 20 has authorised the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to seize funds meant for legislative and judicial arms of state governments that fail to make such funds a first line charge.
It also mandated states to give special extraordinary capital allocations for the judiciary to undertake capital development of state judiciary complexes, high court complexes, Sharia Court of Appeal, Customary Court of Appeal and complexes of other courts befitting the status of a court in the first three years of its implementation.
“The Accountant-General of the Federation shall by this order and such any other orders, regulations or guidelines as may be issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, authorise the deduction from source in the course of Federation Accounts Allocation from the money allocated to any state of the federation that fails to release allocation meant for the state legislature and state judiciary in line with the financial autonomy guaranteed by Section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended).
Allocation of appropriated funds to the state legislature and state judiciary in the state appropriation laws in the annual budget of the state, shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State, as a First Line Charge.
Every state government of the federation shall set up a committee from the commencement of this executive order comprising the Commissioner of Finance, Accountant-General of the state, representative of the State Budget Office, Chief Registrars of State High Court, Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Court of Appeal, (where applicable), the Clerk to the state House of Assembly and the Secretary of the state Judicial Service Committee or Commission.
“Where applicable, determine and ascertain from the revenue profile of the state, a workable budget for each arm of the state government based on the request and needs of the accounting officers; and
“The committee shall be given and accorded legal recognition in the various relevant appropriation or funds management laws of the states.”
Upon the appropriation of funds, the state judiciary budget committee shall on a monthly basis or as the case may be, request the Budget Office of the state to release the statutory allocation for the quarter or monthly and the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) shall be raised by the Office of the Accountant-General of the state for the release of the fund to all the heads of courts/judicial bodies in line with the appropriation law.