Lawyer and rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), yesterday said that no court of law in Nigeria had given legal backing to the powers of the National Assembly to either rewrite the appropriation bill or increase the budget estimates presented to it by the executive.
The silk’s disclosure was in reaction to a statement credited to the National Assembly that its actions at altering the 2017 budget estimates had been sanctioned by the court.
In a statement titled; “The Federal High Court did not say that the National Assembly can increase the budget,” Falana said there was no such pronouncement in the court’s judgement referred to by the National Assembly in the suit marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/295/2014, which was personally filed by him.
According to him, though the case was dismissed by Hon. Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who presided over the matter, on the ground that he lacked the ‘locus standi’ to institute the action, the judge at no point said the National Assembly had power to increase the budget estimates submitted to it by the President and as such the summary of the court’s decision by the National Assembly was grossly misleading.
The statement reads in part: “Sometime in 2014, I had cause to challenge the extent of the oversight powers of the National Assembly to rewrite the appropriation bill or increase the budget estimates presented to it by the President (See Suit No. FHC/ ABJ/CS/295/2014: Femi Falana v The President