The House of Representatives on Wednesday condemned the Presidency in strong terms for implementing the 2018 Appropriation Act in breach with regards to agencies of government on first line charge.
The lawmakers took exception to the failure of the Executive to respect the provisions of the Constitution 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).
As a result, the House urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to immediately fully implement the 2018 Appropriation Act with regards to statutory transfers to organizations that are on first line.
To emphasise the importance of the issue, the leadership of the National Assembly and the relevant Committees on Appropriation, Finance and Legislative Compliance have been directed to ensure compliance and report back to the House within two weeks.
This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance by Edward Pwajok (PDP, Plateau), who noted that the 1999 Constitution as amended created and allocated separate powers to the three arms of Government.
He said the three arms of Government are co-equal and meant to operate independently to guarantee the smooth working of the government under the Presidential Constitution.
He however 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 to such bodies.
“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.
“By the implication of the brazen flouting of the Appropriation Act 2018 and the Constitution, which 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 on the practice of Democracy in Nigeria,” he noted.
The motion was unanimous adopted after a voice vote, while the resolution is expected to be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.