The House of Representatives yesterday condemned the Presidency for allegedly implementing last year’s Appropriation Act without respecting the provisions for government agencies on first-line charge.
The lawmakers faulted the Executive for not respecting the constitutional provisions on first-line charge for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Universal Basic Education (UBEC), the Public Complaints Commission (PCM) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The House urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to fully implement last year’s Appropriation Act with regard to statutory transfers to agencies on first-line.
To emphasise the urgency of the matter, the leadership of the National Assembly and the committees on Appropriation, Finance and Legislative Compliance were directed to ensure compliance and report back to the House within two weeks.
The move followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance by Edward Pwajok (PDP, Plateau), who noted that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, creates and allocates separate powers to the three arms of government.
The lawmaker said the three arms of government are co-equal and should operate independently to guarantee the smooth working of the government under the Presidential Constitution.
He noted that the Executive breached the Constitution, despite being aware that it was amended by the first Alteration Act, 2010 Act No. 1, by altering Section 81(3) to place INEC, the National Assembly and the Judiciary on first-line charge by stipulating that the amount standing to the credit of those agencies or arms of government be paid directly them.
Pwajok said: “These bodies are captured in the annual Appropriation Acts under Statutory Transfers.
“It is worrisome that the Executive arm of government is currently in breach of the Constitution by refusing or neglecting to implement the mandatory provisions of the Constitution regarding statutory transfers and first-line charge requirements, by not releasing the funds to these bodies in line with the Appropriation Act 2013 and the Constitution.
“In spite of a previous resolution of the House passed in 2018 on the above subject and the appearance of the Minister of Finance before an ad hoc committee, the matter has remained unresolved.
“The implication of the brazen flouting of the Appropriation Act 2018 and the Constitution is that it may make the Legislature and the Judiciary to become subservient to the Executive, thereby negating the letters and spirit of the Constitution and the law with dire consequences to the practice of democracy in Nigeria.”
The motion was unanimous adopted after a voice vote, while the resolution is expected to be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.