The Supreme Court, on Friday, declared the Executive Order 10, which President Muhammadu Buhari issued on the funding of State Judiciary and Legislature, illegal.
The apex court, in a split decision by a seven-man panel of Justices, held that President Buhari acted beyond his statutory powers.
The judgement followed a suit that was filed by 36 states of the federation. While six Justices upheld the suit, a member of the panel dismissed it.
It will be recalled that President Buhari had in the Executive Order he signed on May 22, 2020, made it mandatory for all states to include allocations of both the Legislature and the Judiciary in their Appropriation Laws, in compliance with section 121(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended).
However, in the suit marked SC/655/2020, which was filed on September 17, 2020, the 36 States, through their Attorneys-General, queried the legality of the Presidential Executive Order 10.
The Plaintiffs posed two legal questions for the Supreme Court to determine, following which they asked for nine reliefs.
They argued that President Buhari, by virtue of the said Executive Order, 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 contended that the order was a clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of 1999 Constitution, which made it the responsibility of the federal government to fund the listed courts.
The 36 states, which said they had been funding capital projects in the listed courts since 2009, prayed the Supreme Court to order the federal government to make a refund to them, a relief they apex court rejected on Friday.
The Attorney-General of the Federation was cited as the sole Defendant in the matter