Nigeria’s Supreme Court voids Buhari’s Executive Order 10
The Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday overturned the Executive Order 10 (EO10) issued by President Muhammadu Buhari granting financial autonomy to the judiciary and legislature at the state level.
In a split decision by the apex court, the majority of the court’s seven-member panel agreed that the president exceeded his constitutional powers in issuing the EO10 and consequently declared it as unlawful and illegal.
Six out of the seven members of the panel voided and set aside the Executive Order 10.
The court also held that it was not the responsibility of the federal government to fund the capital and recurrent expenditures of the superior courts created for states under section 6 of the constitution.
All the seven members agreed that the states were not entitled to be refunded all they had spent before now to maintain those courts.
The judgement followed a suit filed by 36 states of the federation.
President Buhari had in the Executive Order 10 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.
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