The Supreme Court has reserves judgment till a later date in the dispute between the thirty-six states and the Federal Government on Judiciary funding, Executive Order 10.
The judgment expected to be delivered yesterday, according to hearing notices dispatched to parties by the court’s Registry, suffers set back.
Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed, who led the court’s five-man panel, announced that the judgment was not ready.
He explained that members of the panel who heard the case had tried to ensure that the judgment was ready for delivery on December 7, but it became impossible to get it ready.
The judge who expressed regret assured the parties that they would be informed when the judgment is eventually ready.
However Justice Mohammed did not stated the specific day it would be delivered.
Counsel in the case, who came from outside Abuja, were unhappy with the development.
The thirty-six states, through their attorneys general, filed the suit to challenge the legality of Executive Order 10 and to compel the Federal Government to undertake capital funding of the superior courts created under Section 6 of the Constitution.
On October 4, this year, a seven-member panel of the court, led by Justice Muhammad, had, after taking final submissions from lawyers to the parties and the five amici curiae invited, announced that judgment was reserved till a date to be communicated to parties.
While the states are contending, among others, that it is the responsibility to the Federal Government to bear the capital and recurrent expenditure of all courts created under Section 6 of the Constitution, the Federal Government has said otherwise.
Arguing the plaintiffs’ case on October 4, their lawyer, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), averred that the current practice where the Federal Government limits itself to funding only the recurrent expenditure of superior courts in states was a violation of the Constitution.
He argued that since the salaries, remuneration and allowances of judges were already charged in the Consolidated Fund of the Federation, they do not form part of the annual appropriation (budget), which should cover the capital expenditure of Federal courts and superior courts in various states.
In a counter-argument, lawyer to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who is the sole defendant, Mr. Tijani Gazali (SAN), argued that issues raised in the case had been decided in the case filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
The senior silk argued that the attorneys general of the thirty-six states were parties in the suit who chose not to appeal or comply with the judgment but rather filed a fresh suit before the Supreme Court.
He added that Section 81 of the Constitution provides for the responsibilities of the Federal Government on Federal courts, while Section 121 applies to the responsibilities of the states to the Judiciary.