Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, on Friday, urged the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, to speak against impunity and disobedience to a Supreme Court ruling on the operation of the ‘illegal’ Excess Crude Account, ECA, by the Federal Government. Oshiomole said so during a visit by NBA President, Augustine Alegeh, to the government house in Benin, capital of Edo State. The governor’s statement was in response to Augustine’s charge to the political class on obedience to court rulings and observance of constitutionalism. Oshiomole rather tasked the lawyers’ body to lend its clout to forcing the Federal Government to end illegal deductions from monies accruable to the states and local government councils under the guise of saving such as crude oil excess. He said it was ironical that the Federal Government would claim to be saving excess funds when actually it engages in external borrowings.
“Crude oil excess is unknown and even the concept of excess is dubious. How can you have excess at a time you are borrowing? That pronouncement is there and I want to hear the voice of the NBA on that issue and you can compel the Federal Government to obey the Supreme Court, when you do that you can come back to us and ask us to do our part,” he said.
Oshiomole said he sometime hired the service of Mike Ozekhome, a lawyer, to challenge the legality of the ECA in court because he knew it was unlawful.
‘‘I have asked Chief Mike Ozehkome, SAN to challenge the powers of the Auditor-General of the Federation and the President to make deductions from the Federation account because the constitution is clear on the matter, all monies must first be distributed, even the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, has its money deducted from source, this is unknown to the constitution,” Oshiomole added.
On the striking judicial workers’, Oshiomhole said: “What is the interest of workers on whether or not the head of courts gets its allocation whether as first charge or secondary charge, this has nothing to do with salary of workers, why should it be the headache of judiciary workers to go to court to ask the court to give order that government should give money directly to heads of courts?
“Given the language and the provisions of the trade union acts and the labour act and trade dispute act, if court orders are disobeyed, assuming they were properly made in good faith, do union have rights to enforce those orders particularly when it has nothing to do with their salaries and allowances.’’.
when they are unpalatable. The proper thing to do is to appeal. I want to urge your Excellency to ensure that Edo State is a leading light in obedience of court judgments; we also know that the situation that has arisen in Edo State is saddening, unfortunate and unconstitutional,’’ said Alegeh.