Connect with us

Judiciary

Court rejects Rivers’ request for interim stoppage of police fund deductions

Published

on

Court rejects Rivers’ request for interim stoppage of police fund deductions


Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, turned down a request of the Rivers Government to temporarily halt the deduction of funds from the federation account for the funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF).

Earlier, Joseph Daudu, SAN, who represented the state’s government, had urged Justice Mohammed to issue an interim order suspending the funds deduction after the Federal Government’s agents in the case pleaded for more time to explore the option of amicable resolution of the dispute in the case.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Tijani Gazali represented the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st defendant, Mr K. E Idoko represented the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) and Chinedu Achoume represented the Minister of Finance as 2nd and 4th defendants respectively.

The 3rd defendant, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, was not represented by any lawyer at the proceedings.

Arguing, Daudu told the court to make the interim order or make the government’s lawyers to give an undertaking to stop the funds deduction pending the conclusion of the settlement talks.

However, the defendants’ lawyers opposed the request for the issuance of an interim order and declined to give an undertaking for the suspension of the funds deduction.

Counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), who was joined as the 1st defendant in the case, Mr Tijjani Gazali, argued that the deduction of funds was based on provision of a law whose operations could not be stopped by consent of parties in a  case.

“Agreed, it is a contractual relationship which is about give-and-take, but parties cannot by consent stop the operations of the law,” Gazali said.

Delivering a ruling, Justice Mohammed, said it was clear that parties to the case could not reach any agreement.

He said while the court would not want to stand in the way of an amicable settlement of the matter, it would also not entertain any steps capable of frustrating the expeditious determination of the case.

The judge, who refused to grant Daudu’s plea, reaffirmed the order of accelerated hearing which he earlier issued for the case on June 10.

He then adjourned the case until July 20 for hearing, saying, “This adjournment is without prejudice the right of parties to pursue an amicable settlement of the  matter.”

The Rivers State Government, through its AGF, had, on May 20, filed the suit, /511/2020, to challenge the constitutionality and validity of section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019, which permit the  deduction of 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account and be paid to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.

Gov. Nyesom Wike-led of Rivers contended that it was not the responsibility of the state governments but that of the Federal Government to fund the police.

Its lawyers led by Daudu argued that by virtue of Section 162 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution, funds standing to the credit of the federation account “can only be distributed among the Federal Government, state governments and local government councils in each state of Nigeria and not directly to any agency of the Federal Government including the Nigeria Police Force”.

It urged the court to, among others, declare the  section of the law “permitting the direct deduction of any sum or percentage of revenue accruing to the federation account or which ought to have been paid into the federation account for the purpose of providing  funds for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund” as  “unconstitutional, null and void”.

It also urged the court to order a refund of the money deducted from the federation account and paid into the NPTF since when it was informed about it at the in April 2020 Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

Taiye Agbaje: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Mosque reopening: EKiti Muslims to bring private praying mats, ablution kettles Oil prices rise, head for weekly gain amid cautious hopes for fuel demand recovery U.S visa ban: Nigeria has substantially met demands, says FG Committee United States agency warns against toxic hand sanitisers Andreescu will not defend United States Open title Serena beats Venus to reach Lexington quarter-finals Gov. Umahi rejects Ebonyi’s transfer to Police Zone 13 Division UN Chief welcomes Israel, UAE peace agreement Caretaker committee promises better times for Anambra football stakeholders, unveils new FA secretariat NAPHER-SD identifies loopholes in sports industry policy draft, calls for review COVID-19: PTF working with partners to implement comprehensive response to virus How I survived COVID-19 — Foreign Affairs Minister Leipzig stun Atletico Madrid to reach Champions League last four Workshop identifies harmful impacts of Global Gag Rule on developing nations Okei-Odumakin mourns former US Ambassador, Walter Carrington Nollywood: Censors Board, stakeholders hold roundtable on policy for release of films Not the right time for me to return to Barca as coach, Xavi says Anambra monarchs protest suspension, say “nothing warrants it” Edo Election: Ize-Iyamu promises to harness solid minerals in Akoko-Edo COVID-19: Commission refunds 2020 Hajj intending pilgrims in Adamawa Edo 2020: Crowds at rallies thrill Shaibu Board decries increase in maternal, newborn mortality in Plateau FG will prosecute destroyers of Akanu Ibiam Int’l Airport fence – Minister   IPAC dissolves interim committee, fixes  Sept. 5 for election NiMet predicts cloudy, thundery activities Friday to Sunday Nigeria’s low COVID-19 cases due to low sample collection — NCDC Members pass vote of confidence in ALGON president, Kolade Alabi Osinbajo advocates purpose-built software for virtual court proceedings Oyo govt. to spend N5.5bn to remodel Salami Stadium Resurgence of COVID-19 on health workers worrisome — Minister NGO empowers 40 rehabilitated youths in Kwara LASG gives cash donation to victims of rainstorm in Badagry Left Handers Day: We are blessed, intelligent – Jos left handers Monarchs laud Buhari’s developmental efforts in South East UNnilag VC position not vacant – workers unions 684 evacuees test positive to COVID-19 — PTF FG begins reform of Calabar, Kano special economic zones PenCom mulls contributors RSA transfer window -Official Lagos Police College, LASCODA partner to promote coconut development MTN Nigeria lifts NSE market indices further by 0.38% Christian group urges FG to end banditry, kidnapping, others CAN announces intercessory prayer session over insecurity in Nigeria Banditry in Katsina will soon fizzle out – Sen. Barkiya TETFUND could perform well with available resources – Minister Gov. Diri urges Agip to relocate to Bayelsa Abia needs competent leaders, not zoning — Otti ActionAid Nigeria urges small-holder women farmers on NAIC facilities UK, Nigeria partner on regulatory reforms on right of way 38,000 vulnerable households to benefit from CACOVID relief items in Zamfara    FG inaugurates team on digital innovation for improved service delivery