By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), on Monday, assured that the much anticipated financial autonomy for the state legislative and judiciary institutions will be implemented by May 2021.
This was disclosed by the NGF Chairman and Ekiti Gov. Kayode Fayemi, after a meeting of stakeholders on financial autonomy for the judiciary and legislature chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The NGF’s decision is coming hours after members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) staged a peaceful protest at the National Assembly in solidarity with the striking judiciary workers who have been pressing for financial autonomy for the arms of government at the state level.
Fayemi restated that the NGF had never opposed the issue of financial autonomy, adding that “the governors, speakers and judges are on the same page.”
He said: “We just emerged from a meeting with the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers, and House of Representatives. An agreement has been reached.
“The issue has been fully and holistically addressed, but we don’t just want to agree to something on paper without working out the modalities for implementation. Thankfully, the meeting we have just emerged from, with the Chief of Staff to the President chairing, has worked out the modalities to the satisfaction of all parties.
“As soon as the final document that is being cleaned up emerges, that is preparatory to implementation. We’re not going to put a timeframe in the air, but it will be implemented as soon as possible, definitely no later than the end of May 2021.”
The meeting was also attended by state governors including Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) as well as chairman and some members of the Conference State Assembly Speakers.
Persecondnews recalls that the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), had on Friday directed its branch chairmen nationwide to lead a peaceful protest to government houses in their respective states over the 36 governors’ alleged unwillingness to implement judiciary’s financial autonomy.
A statement by the NBA President, Mr Olumide Akpata, directed the branch chairmen to lead the peaceful protests on Monday, and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand for the judiciary’s financial autonomy was met.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had in May 2020 signed an Executive Order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states.
The order also mandated the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from source amount due to state legislatures and judiciary from the monthly allocation to each state for erring states.