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$1bn ECA fund: Ekiti LGs Chairmen sue AGF, 36 State govs, others

By Lere Olayinka
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Sixteen Local Government Chairmen in Ekiti state have sued the Attorney
General of the Federation and Governors of the 36 states over the approval
of the sum of $1billion from the Excess Crude Account of the Federation for
the fight against insurgency.

They want an order of injunction restraining the Federal government and the
36 states governors, their agents, servants, privies, representatives in
interest, howsoever called and by whatsoever name designated, from giving
effect to the appropriation and/ or approval of appropriation of the sum of
$1 billion or any other sum whatsoever, from the Excess Crude Account of
the Federation, as contained in the decision made on December 15, 2017
unless and by means of statutory allocation by the Revenue Mobilisation
Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1264/17, the council Chairmen asked the Abuja
division of the Federal High Court to declare that the approval of the sum
of $1 billion by the 36 state governors to purportedly execute the
constitutional duty of the Federal government, which has been sufficiently
funded from the Federation Account, without the their consent is ultra
vires, unlawful, null and void.

The suit which was filed today at the registry of the court by counsel to
the plaintiffs, Ola Olanikpekun (SAN) also listed the Revenue Mobilisation
Allocation and Fiscal Commission as a defendant.

The Chairmen are; Deji Ogunsakin (Ado LGA); Bola Alonge (Ikere LGA);
Lanrewaju Omolase (Ekiti South West LGA); Dapo Olagunju (Irepodun/Ifeelodun
LGA); Samuel Adeniyi (Ekiti East LGA); Olumide Falade (Ise/Orun LGA); Sade
Akinrinmola (Gbonyin LGA); Tayo Ogundare (Oye LGA); Chief Ayodeji Arogbodo
(Ido/Osi LGA) and Taiwo Oguntuase (Emure LGA).

The rest are Kolawole Omotunde (Ekiti West LGA); Bolaji Jeje (Efon LGA);
Adesola Adeyanju (Ikole LGA); Ganiyu Bakare (Ilejemele LGA); Adeniyi
Adebayo (Moba LGA) and Abiodun Dada (Ijero LGA).

They are equally asking for an order of court declaring that in the
discharge of its constitutional duty to safeguard the security and
territorial integrity of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria, being
the 1st defendant's principal (AGF), must be funded in accordance with its
Appropriation Act and by means of due accruals from the Federation account
only.

A declaration that the 1st -37 defendants' appropriation and /or approval
of appropriation of the sum of $1billion (One billion United States
Dollars) from the Excess Crude Account of the federation made at the
National Economic Council meeting of December 12, 2017 without regard to
the consent of the 38th defendant (the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and
Fiscal Commission), the plaintiffs (integral part of the Local Governments
of the Federation of Nigeria) and the due appropriation of the various
States' Houses of Assembly, is unconstitutional, unlawful, ultra vires,
null, void ab initio and of no effect whatsoever.

The Council Chairmen also asked the court for a declaration that they are
entitled to full share of all revenue accrued and accruable to the
Federation Account and the Federation Excess Crude Account or any other
Account whatsoever operated by and for the Federation of Nigeria, including
the sum of $1,000,000,000 (which was purportedly approved for the
expenditure of the Federal Government by the 1st-37th defendants at the
83rd, National Economic Council meeting of December 15, 2017, in accordance
with section 162 of the 1999 constitution and the provisions of Allocation
of Revenue (Federation Account) Act.

It is their contention that "whether by the provisions of sections 153 (1)
(h), 162 and paragraph 18, part 1 of the third schedule to the 1999
constitution, the 1st -37th defendants can lawfully appropriate and or
approve the appropriation of funds in the excess crude account of the
federation of Nigeria, without affecting, reducing or obliterating the
plaintiffs' lawful share of proceeds from the federation accounts.

If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative, the plaintiffs
want the court to determine "whether the 2nd defendant can lawfully
appropriate and /or approve the appropriation of funds in the excess crude
account of the federation of Nigeria, without the consent and /or
consultation of the plaintiffs.

*Whether in the discharge of the federal government's constitutional duty
of safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of Nigeria, (as
mandated by section 217 of the 1999 constitution, the Federal government
can lawfully resort to funding other than by means of its Appropriation
Act.?

The suit which is yet to be assigned to any judge for adjudication is
supported by a 14 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by Everest Igweokolo, a
litigation executive in the law firm of