States have unveiled strategies to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) to ensure financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary, THISDAY has learnt.
The MoA was signed on June 4 by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria(JUSUN), the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria(PASAN), the federal government and the 36 state governors.
Under the terms of the MoA, the governors have 45 days to implement the strategies to ensure full financial autonomy for the other two arms of government.
With the Judicial Service Commission and the House of Assembly Service Commission already in place in Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong said on Saturday night at a dinner and lecture to mark the Democracy Day in Jos that he had directed that all funds accruing to the two arms of government should immediately be transferred to them.
He said: “With the new arrangement, after every FAAC monthly allocations, are received, and Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) ascertained, statutory charges and liabilities will be deducted before each arm of government are given what belongs to them.”
Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and Deputy President of Nigerian Houses of Assembly, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, also said at the weekend that the two arms of government in the state were no longer dependent on the executive arm as “they are already enjoying financial autonomy in the state.”
He said the state had concluded plans to ensure the take-off of the Delta State Accounts Allocation Committee (DSAAC) and State Assembly Service Commission (DSASC), adding that the enabling legislation was delayed by the PASAN strike.
Ebonyi State Chairman of PASAN, Mrs. Uche Edene, told THISDAY that the state had gradually started the implementation of the financial autonomy even before the strike started.
She stated that the state had enacted Fund Management Law in 2016 which gave birth to the State House of Assembly Commission.
In Oyo State, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, told THISDAY that the state has already established the Assembly Service Commission while that of the State Accounts Allocation Committee (SAAC) was ongoing.
He said before the strike by JUSUN, the state already had a committee involving all stakeholders working towards funds management for the judiciary and legislative arms.
Chairman of JUSUN in Taraba State, Mr. Muhammed Usman, told THISDAY that the House of Assembly has to pass the Taraba State Legislative Management Bill and Judiciary Management Bill into law before the setting up SAAC.
In addition, Sokoto State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Suleiman Usman (SAN), told THISDAY that by principle, the state had granted autonomy to the judiciary and legislature since 2017, adding that Governor Aminu Tambuwal would soon send a bill to the House of Assembly for passage into law.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY the Special Adviser on Media and Public Enlightenment to Governor Bello Mutawalle of Zamfara State, Mr Zailani Bappa, said the governor was determined to implement the agreement reached with JUSUN and PASAN.
Nasarawa State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Dogo Shama, also told THISDAY that the state was gearing up for the setting up of SAAC.
National Treasurer of Parliamentary Association of Nigeria, Mr. Umar Azara, also confirmed that both the State Assembly Service Commission and Fund Management bills have been put in place in Nasarawa State and are awaiting passage.
Kano State Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said the state government was ready to set up SAAC and the State Assembly Service Commission to enable it to disburse revenue directly to the two other arms of government in the state.
The Chairman of Akwa Ibom State chapter of JUSUN, Mr. Oku Umoh, also told THISDAY that the state legislature has to put in place the Legislative Service Commission and the Fund Management Law, while the three arms of government will meet to set up SAAC.
Chairman of JUSUN in Cross River State, Mr. Asang Ebong, told THISDAY that the three arms of government were already working on a draft bill for the setting up of SAAC.
JUSUN Chairman, Ondo State, Mr. Femi Afolabi, said the SAAC would be set up after the Fund Management Committee Law, had been passed by the Ondo State House of Assembly and assented to by the Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.
In Katsina State, the Governor, Hon. Aminu Masari, said the state government had concluded plans to inaugurate SAAC and State Assembly Service Commission in order to enable the two arms of government to receive their statutory allocations directly from the federal government.
He said: “We have no problem with the independence of the judiciary and legislature. What we get from the Federation Account is what they are going to get. Isn’t it? In Katsina, we don’t have any problem. We can only share what we have. We cannot share what we don’t have.”
Chairman of PASAN in Ekiti State, Mr. Gbenga Oluwajuyigbe, told THISDAY that the State House of Assembly has begun the process for the passage of the Fund Management Bill, to give legal backing to the direct payment of funds to the legislative arm.
Commissioner for Information, Hon Akin Omole, also stated that the state would fully implement whatever agreement reached at the national level.
Spokesman of the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Mr. Ibrahim Danfulani, said the lawmakers would debate the issue this week.
Secretary of JUSUN in Niger State, Mr. Bala Mohammed, stated that PASAN and JUSUN have completed arrangement to submit bills for the establishment of the Assembly Service and Judicial Service Commissions and the State Accounts Allocation Committee anytime next week.
In Anambra State, the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Pius Udoh, told THISDAY that the assembly has passed the fund management bill to manage the expected funds.