The Rivers State Government has sued the Federal Government at the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the deduction of funds from the Federation Account for the funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
The deduction, which its commencement was said to have been announced at the April 2020 Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting is based on Section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019, permitting the deduction of 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account and be paid to the NPTF.
But the Governor Nyesom Wike-led Rivers State Government, has through the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, which filed the suit on May 20, 2020, contended that it was not the responsibility of the state governments but that of the Federal Government to fund the police.
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 in April 2020 Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting.
The suit was filed on behalf of the state government by team of lawyers, including 14 Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by Mr Joseph Daudu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The case came up before Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Thursday.
The plaintiff’s legal team was led by Daudu, while that of the AGF office was led by Tijani Gazali. The legal team of the Accountant-General of the Federation’s office was led by N. O. Ibom, while that of the Ministry of Finance was led by Chinedu Achumie.
Despite confirmation by the judge that RMAFC had been served with the court processes, the commission was not represented by a lawyer at Thursday’s proceedings.
Ibom urged the court to adjourn the case to enable him to file the necessary processes “and/or to settle this matter amicably.”
Justice Mohammed, who urged him to foreclose possibility of settlement, adjourned the case till July 2 for hearing.