Immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West), has faulted the Executive Order 10 recently issued by President Muhamnadu Buhari granting financial autonomy to state judiciary and the legislature.
He also kicked against Bills on Infectious Disease Control waiting for legislative consideration at the both Chambers of the National Assembly, just as he declared the ongoing restrictions on inter states travels as necessary for containment of COVID-19 pandemic but unconstitutional .
Ekweremadu who made these submissions Friday in Enugu while fielding questions on “Political Voices”, a current affairs programme on Dream FM, said there has been a lot of misconception regarding the latest Executive Order issued by Mr President .
He said it was quite unnecessary since the 8th National Assembly had made provisions for it through a constitution alteration bill passed to that effect and assented to , by President Muhamnadu Buhari.
“We, the members of the 8thAssembly, passed the amendment to the Constitution to grant financial autonomy to the State Judiciary and Legislature because we believed that for the sake of their independence, they should be on the First Line Charge of the states Consolidated Revenue Account. And when we passed them, the President dutifully signed them into law (over a year ago).
“That should have been the end of it because the amendments are self-executing. We expected that having done that, the states should go ahead to work out the modalities. But that didn’t happen.
“So, the President now set up a Committee headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation to work out the modalities for implementation. I think it was at that point that they deemed it necessary to come up with an Executive Order to strengthen the implementation.
“But regrettably, they have simply mutilated those provisions of the Constitution as amended. Now, they are adding some aspects suggesting to the states how to manage their funds because part of that Executive Order is that in the next three years, the judiciary in the states should dedicate part of the monies coming to them to capital projects for the State Judiciary.
“It went ahead to suggest that if the governors fail to remit these monies to State Judiciary and State Legislature, then the President could direct that these monies be transferred straight from the Federation Account to the State Judiciary and Legislature.
“This in itself was not part of what we amended in the Constitution and it is not part of the Constitution”, he explained.
On the way forward, Ekweremadu advised the Governors to approach the President and point out those mistakes so that he could withdraw the executive order.
Picking holes on the controversial Control of Infections Disease Bill 2020 and the National Health Emergency Bill 2020, Ekweremadu said they negated the Constitution and could not possibly succeed as currently drafted.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the bill as presently presented will not be passed by the National Assembly. A lot of parliamentarians have lined up to oppose it.
“Parliament is essentially a market place of ideas. And like every other market, if you come to the market with a product that is not very good, you are not likely going to sell it. So, my colleagues in both chambers are entitled to presenting the Bills, but whether that will succeed or not is another kettle of fish.
“Looking at that Bill, which is intended to deal with dangerous or infectious diseases, it appears to me that the Bill is even more dangerous than the diseases they.
“If you look at some parts of the Bill, it says if you have any problem with the order or actions of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, you have to appeal to the Minister and whatever the Minister says will be final. But Section 4 (8) of the Constitution says that no attempt should be made by the National Assembly or any State Assembly make nay law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of the court. In other words, you must right to go to court if you have any issues.
“So, to that extent, that Bill is null and void, unacceptable, and unconstitutional”.