Nigeria: All Governors Sue Federal Government over Court Funding

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

The governors of all 36 states in Nigeria challenged an executive order before the nation’s Supreme Court this week relinquishing the federal government from its constitutional responsibility to fund state courts.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed the executive order on May 20 giving “financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary at the state level,” Nigerian newspaper Vanguard recalled on Monday. Hoping to obtain a Supreme Court order quashing the federal directive, Nigeria’s 36 governors filed a suit this week through their respective attorneys general against Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.

The suit contends that the executive order was a clear violation of sections of Nigeria’s constitution “which make it the responsibility of the federal government to fund the listed courts,” Nigerian newspaper This Day reported.

The states also contend in their suit that the AGF has refused to fund state courts with capital and recurrent expenditure since May 2009. This forced the burden of funding the courts to fall to the states, who argue that the federal government now owes them a refund.

“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 states explained in their suit.

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