…As NGF raises legal c’mtte to meet AGF on implications of Executive Order 10
…Endorses 3-month economy reopening plan
Andrew Orolua & Tunde Opalana, Abuja
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said that Presidential Executive Orders are aimed at complementing existing legislations and ensure inter-agency coordination in the process of implementation.
Speaking on Thursday at the Radio Nigeria programme “Politics Nationwide”, Malami pointed out that Executive Orders are for ensuring constitutional compliance, complementing existing legislations, ensuring and enhancing operation, enforcement and application of legal provisions as well as providing necessary supervision required for enforcement.
Malami pointed out that Executive Orders are naturally intended to force constitutional compliance which in the case of Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria establishes the autonomy of the states’ legislatures and judiciary.
His words: “The Executive Order is therefore a necessary tool for the purpose of bringing to effect such autonomy by way of assigning certain responsibilities, both institutional and otherwise necessary for the purpose of enforcing the autonomy.
“By way of example, therefore, if the Federal Government wants to withhold the resources of a State Government that refuses to comply with the constitutional provision relating to the autonomy of State Legislatures and Judiciary then the Federal Government may require the services of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“Similarly, if the government wants the state legislature to be part of the process relating to appropriation, for example, agreement must be reached on the need for the state legislature to be alive to their responsibility.
He noted that for a coordinated institutional support, necessary and desirable for bringing to effect the operation, enforcement and application of a constitutional provision Executive Order becomes necessary”.
Malami said Executive Order No. 10 is meant to bring about the constitutionality associated with the autonomy of the state legislature and judiciary.
The Attorney-General of the Federation said the Executive Order No. 10 was also intended to achieve supervisory role by assigning responsibilities and ensuring proper supervision desired for the purpose of enforcement and application of autonomy constitutionally granted States legislature and judiciary as contained in Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has ordered its legal committee to interface with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on the implication of the recently signed Executive Order 10 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Through the Executive Order which grants financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary at the state level, the Federal Government has given a very strong warning that any state government which withholds funds meant for their respective Houses of Assembly and Judiciary would get their allocations deducted at source by the Accountant General of the Federation and remitted directly to the affected state organs.
President Buhari cinsequently ordered state governments to set up state legislature and judiciary financial autonomy implementation committees to kick – start the Presidential order which came to effect on May 20.
The NGF in a communique issued at the end if its teleconference meeting held Wednesday night in Abuja, signed by its chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, resolved to subject the matter to further discussions to finetune its implementation after knowning the implication.
He said the Forum resolved among others, to; through the NGF Legal Committee comprising the Governors of Sokoto, Plateau and Ondo, engage with the Attorney General of the Federation to reflect on the implications of the recently passed Executive Order 10, 2020 on governance at the Sub-National level.
The Forum also endorsed the development of a 3-month plan on reopening the economy by the NEC Sub-Committee that will interface with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 comprising the Governors of Delta (Chairman), Ekiti, Lagos, Anambra, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau and the FCT Minister.
This is as it resolved to interface with the Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to incorporate the contributions of State governments in the Economic Sustainability Plan as a national response to the COVID-19 crisis through the NEC Ad-Hoc Sub-Committee on COVID-19 comprising the Governors of Kaduna (Chairman), Kebbi, Ebonyi, Ogun, Nasarawa, Edo, and Jigawa.
Fayemi, in the communique said: “We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The NGF Chairman briefed State Governors on coordination activities with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) that are targeted at improving the COVID-19 response of State governments.
“We received brief from Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Nigeria on the $1 billion COVID-19 crisis facility and update from Zouera Youssoufou, Managing Director and CEO of The Aliko Dangote Foundation on activities of the CACOVID.
“We resolved to “interface with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, on the $1 billion COVID-19 crisis facility approved for the country at the request of the Federal Government by the African Development Bank (AfDB), to embark on the delivery of projects that will meet the needs of Nigerians during this period, in such areas as health emergency assistance, agriculture and food security;
“Continue engagements with CACOVID to consolidate interventions on the distribution of palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians who have lost their means of livelihood as a result of the coronavirus pandemic”.