By Auta Obadiah Dauda
The Federal Government is making moves this week to gazatte the Executive Order No 10 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari for the enforcement of financial autonomy to state legislatures and judiciary, Sunday punch learnt.
That the office of the Attorney General of the federation on behalf of the Federal Government will have the gazatte served to the Accountant General of the federation and others as soon as it is issued.
Media reports has it that the 36 states governors had delegates their Chairman, Dr. Femi Kayode to meet with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), over implementation of the executive order No 10.
Buhari had on May 22, 2020 signed the Executive Order for the implementation of the provision of Section 121(3) of the Constitution which was altered in 2018 to provide that any amount standing to the credit of the state judiciary and legislature in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state must be paid to the heads of the institutions.
In the event of failure of any state government to release the allocations due to the state’s legislature or judiciary, the Executive Order empowers the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct the allocation from source and pay it to the legislature and the judiciary.
Presidential Executive Orders are usually published in the Federal Government’s gazette which is the government’s official public notice publications of new appointments, among other newly issued legal instruments.
But our correspondent gathered that the Executive Order 10 has yet to be published in the gazette because of the COVID-19 restrictions which has limited operations of government offices to certain days of the week and some categories of officials.
When contacted on Saturday, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Attorney General of the Federation, Dr. Umar Gwandu, confirmed that the publication of the Executive Order in the gazette had been delayed by the COVID-19 restrictions.
He also asked that states with existing Appropriation Laws must amend them to encompass financial autonomy of state legislature and state judiciary and those without such laws must do so.
It also provides that notwithstanding the provisions of this Executive Order, “in the first three years of its implementation, there shall be 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 Court Complexes of other Courts befitting the status of a Courts.”
It also asked the state judiciaries to set up “a State Judiciary Budget Committee” to serve as “an administrative body to prepare, administer and implement the budget of the state judiciary with such modifications as may be required to meet the needs of the state judiciary.”