GEJ Sued Over Fiscal Responsibility Act, Rising Debts

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PostAdmin on 2nd August 2012, 2:02 pm

Five Abuja-based lawyers on Tuesday dragged President Goodluck Jonathan before an Abuja Federal High Court over what they described as his failure to set a limit for consolidated debt of the federal, state and local governments, in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

The lawyers, Aja Nwani Aja, Lawrence Ogbonna Ukpai, Kingsley Osaigbovo Obue, Adaobi Chioma Peace, Best Owie and Abdulmumuni Mohammed Tahir, listed the President Federal Republic of Nigeria as the defendant in the suit.

The plaintiffs averred that by virtue of Section 42 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and pursuant to the provisions of item 7 and 50 of part 1 of the 2nd Schedule to the Constitution, the President is mandated to within 90 days from May 29, 2011, set overall limits for the amounts of consolidated debts for the three tiers of government.

They maintained that the House of Representatives on March 27, 2012 had passed a motion urging Jonathan to implement section 42 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

As a result of the President’s inability to comply with the constitutional provisions, as well as the legislator’s motion, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Jonathan is in breach of the Oath of Office of the President.

The plaintiffs further asked the court to hold that Jonathan is duty bound to comply with the laws of the country.

They also asked the court to compel him to comply with the said laws concerning consolidated debt.

In a 19-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Aja, the plaintiffs said that the defendant swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to discharge his duties in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

The noted that by the tenets of constitutional democracy and the rule of law, the President has a sacred duty to uphold the provisions of the law.

The plaintiffs averred that on July 30, 2007, the defendants’s predecessor, Umar Musa Yar’adua signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Act, and that as at the time the said Act was signed into law, the defendant was the vice president of Nigeria.

Furthermore, they held that the Fiscal Responsibility Act was enacted to provide prudence and enhance probity in fiscal matters in the country.

They held that pursuant to the provision of the Act, the President was supposed to set overall limits for the amount of consolidated debt of the three tiers of government, not later than 90 days from the commencement of the Act.

The plaintiffs also noted Yar’Adua did not set the overall limits as provided for the law, and that Jonathan had 90 days from the date of his inauguration on May 29, 2011 to set the overall limits as stipulated by law.

Aja said, “I know for a fact that the defendant has not complied with the provision of the act in this respect.

“The House of Representatives on March 27, 2012 passed a motion urging Jonathan to implement section 42 (1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“The defendant ignored, refused and failed to implement the provision of the Act and that as it is, there is no statutory ceiling to the amount any tier of the government in Nigeria can borrow.

“The absence of a statutory ceiling for borrowing negates one of the principal objectives of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which is to enhance the prudent management of the nation’s resources.”

“Implementing the provisions of the Act will engender fiscal discipline and promote a healthy economic environment in Nigeria.”

They also maintained that the suit was in the interest of justice and the rule of law.

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had in Abuja on April 11, 2012 reportedly put the nation’s total debt stock at $44bn.

The breakdown shows that $5.9bn is external debt, while domestic debt is N5.6tr.
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PostDeswimmer on 3rd August 2012, 2:37 pm

GEJ! Let him share the money abeg

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