4NAIJA: Buhari is being sued over bailout to states

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Friday, 17 July 2015

Buhari is being sued over bailout to states

Apparently not everybody is happy with the bailout fund approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to states to settles backlog of unpaid salaries.

A member of the House of Representatives, Igariwey Iduma-Enwo, has approached an Abuja Federal High Court to challenge the decision of  Buhari to rescue states in the country with a bailout of N713.7 billion.

In suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1022/15, which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Ebonyi State filed on Wednesday, Iduma-Enwo is seeking to know whether Buhari has powers under the 1999 Constitution to give the bailout without the approval of the National Assembly.

On the list of the defendants in the suit are the President; Attorney-General of the Federation; Federal Ministry of FINANCE; Accountant-General of the Federation; Auditor-General of the Federation; and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

Iduma-Enwo, who represents Afikpo-North/South Federal Constituency, is urging the court to determine whether Buhari could, by presidential “fiat”, direct that public money from the pool account of the Federal Government should be disbursed to states and local governments without recourse to the National Assembly, “the authority vested with the power of appropriation in this case.”
He is asking the court to declare the action of the President and his co-defendants “unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, null and void, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from giving out funds to the states and local governments without the prescription of the National Assembly.”

While speaking with journalists at the National Assembly soon after filing the suit, Iduma-Enwo explained that he decided to challenge Buhari because he acted alone without regard for the principle of separation of powers.

He noted that while he sympathize with the states, especially now that many civil servants could not fend for their families due to non-payment of salaries, the President must still follow the “due process of law.”

“Let him show us where it is stated in the Constitution that the President can unilaterally give money without the approval of the National Assembly. It then means that one day they can sit at Aso Rock and pass the national budget.

“Why do we have the National Assembly if matters like this can be handled by fiat without letting the National Assembly know about it or play its role as the appropriating authority?” he asked.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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