UPDATED: Court outlaws FG’s deduction from Federation Account to fund police

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has outlawed the practice where the Federal Government deducts funds directly from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in line with Section 4(1) (a) & (b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a judgment on Wednesday, held that the provisions of Section 4(1) (a) & (b) of the NPTF Act 2019, requiring the deduction 0.05 per cent of any funds in the Federation Account and 0.005 per cent of the net profit of companies operating in Nigeria to fund the police are unconstitutional.

The judgment was on a suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/511/2020 filed by the Rivers State Government against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Accountant General of the Federation, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the Minister of Finance.

Justice Mohammed said the provisions are inconsistent to the provisions of Section 162(1) & (3) of the Constitution, requiring the payment of total revenue collected by the Government of the the Federation, including levies and taxes, into the Federation Action for sharing among the three tiers of government.

The judge agreed with Rivers State that, by virtue of Section 162 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution, funds standing to the credit of the Federation Account “can only be distributed among the federal, state and local governments in each state of Nigeria and not directly to any agency of the federal government, including the Nigeria Police Force.”

He added that no other entity, by the provision of Section 162(3) of the Constitution, outside the three tiers of government is entitle to partake in the sharing of funds standing to the credit of the Federation Account.

The judge held that to that extent, Section 43(1) a and b are inconsistent with the provision of section 162(3) of the Constitution.

He further held that the duty to establish and maintain the Nigeria Police Force is that of the FG, the police being an agency of the Fed Govt

The judge ordered the Fed Govt to refund to the Rivers State Government its share of the funds from the Federation Account that have been wrongly deducted since the Fed Govt commenced the deduction of funds in accordance with the provisions of the NPTF Act.

Justice Mohammed granted reliefs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 as prayed by the plaintiff, and in respect of reliefs 6 and 8 the relate to refund, the judge said they should apply to Rivers States.

The judge was of the view that since the case was filed only by Rivers State and not on behalf of itself and the other 35 states, the court could not make orders in favour of parties not before it.

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