The 36 states of the federation have approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Presidential Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in May on the funding of the courts.
The 36 states, through their respective attorneys general, are seeking an order of the Supreme Court quashing Buhari’s Executive Order for being unconstitutional. The only respondent in the suit is the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The plaintiffs had filed the suit through some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN) and six other lawyers. The 36 states submitted that Buhari, by virtue of the Executive Order he signed on May 20, 2020, had pushed the Federal Government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts,
Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal, to the state governments. They further contended that Buhari’s Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 was a clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 Constitution, which make it the responsibility of the Federal Government to fund the listed courts. The 36 states submitted that they had been funding the capital projects in the listed courts since 2009.
They, however, prayed the apex court to order the Federal Government to make a refund to them. They submitted that: “Since the 5th of May 2009, the defendant had not funded the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, apart from paying only the salaries of the judicial officers of the said courts.
“The plaintiffs’ states have been solely responsible for funding the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, which the defendant has failed and/or refused to fund.”