An Abuja division of the federal high court has declared unlaw, the deductions by the federal government from the Federation Account for funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed ruled on Tuesday that the direct deduction of funds from the federation account to fund the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is illegal.
In a suit filed by the Rivers Government through its attorney general, the state government sought an order stopping the deduction of funds from the federation account for the funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund scheme.
- In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/511/2020, filed on May 20, 2020, Rivers state Government, through its Attorney- General had approached the court seeking an order stopping the deduction of funds from the federation account for the funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund scheme.
- The state government challenged the constitutionality and validity of section 4(1)(a) and section 4(1)(b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019, which permits the deduction of 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account and to be paid to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
- The Rivers State government had argued that it was not the responsibility of the State governments but that of the Federal Government to fund the Police.
- Respondents in the suit included: Attorney- General of Federation and Minister of Justice, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Federal Ministry of Finance.
What the judge ruled
Justice Mohammed held that the provisions of section 4(1)(a) (b) of the Police Trust Fund Act 2019, requiring the deduction of 0.05 percent of any fund in the federation account and 0.005 percent of the net profit of companies operating in Nigeria to fund the police is unconstitutional.
The judge consequently declared the section of the law permitting the direct deduction of any sum or percentage of revenue accruing to the federation account or which ought to have been paid into the federation account for the purpose of providing funds for the Nigerian Police Trust Fund as “unconstitutional, null and void.”
Justice Mohammed agreed with the Rivers government 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 Government, State Governments and Local Government Councils in each state of Nigeria and not directly to any agency of the Federal Government including the Nigeria Police Force.”
The judge also said it was only Rivers that would benefit from the refund and not the 35 states since the court was not a “Father Christmas” that granted what was not sought.