PRESIDENTIAL EXEMPTION UNDER THE TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINE: A FRAUD ON THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE AND HER CONSTITUTION by: Johnmary Jideobi, Esq.



CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION:
Treasury Single Account [TSA] is a bank account or a set of linked accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments. TSA is part of the Public Financial Management [PFM] reform initiatives under the Economic Reforms and Governance Project [ERGP]. TSA was designed to address impediments to effective Cash Management. TSA refers to a public accounting system using a single account, or a set of linked accounts by government to ensure all revenue receipts and payments are done through a Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Under this arrangement Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are allowed to maintain revenue collection accounts for MDAs, but all collections must be remitted to the CRA at the end of every banking day; that is MDAs’ accounts with DMBs must be at zero balance at the end of every banking day. TSA allows government banking to be unified, to enable the relevant stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation to have full oversight of all cash flows across different bank accounts. The TSA scheme covers all MDAs as well as other institutions and parastatals that collect revenues and monies payable to FGN, including all forms of receipts, refunds, operating surpluses, transfers, donations, over-payment, taxes and customs duties, etc. To pay money under TSA, depositors make payment to a transit account in a commercial bank and the funds are automatically remitted to the CRA in the CBN at regular intervals, say at the end of the business day or at more frequent intervals. [see the TSA Guidelines prepared by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation]. Above all, the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Treasury Single Account Policy [henceforth called the TSA Guidelines] was ostensibly fashioned out with a view to giving effect to the peremptory provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution earlier cited. By a circular issued by the Head of Service of the Civil Service of the Federation and dated the 17th August 2015, a Presidential directive aimed at ensuring the firm entrenchment of the TSA and e-collection initiative and the realization of Government’s objectives was issued. Despite this Presidential directive, some yet-to-be unmasked government officials entered into an unholy alliance with about seven (7) Money Debosit Banks to frustrate the sweeping of the monies in the account of some MDAs, domiciled with the delinquent banks, into the TSA maintained at the CBN.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND [rebus gestis]:
While it must be conceded from the outset that the assemblage of facts forming the background of this write-up is rather undulating, nevertheless, the said constituent facts are very submissive to easy comprehension in that they are not in the least recondite as to require the literary perspicacity of William Shakespeare to appreciate. In the main, 14.on the 16th day of June, 2017, PROF. YEMI AKINSEYE-GEORGE, SAN, FCIARB presented a proposal to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Attorney-General of the Federation for the recovery and remittance of unremitted Federal Government Funds deposited, retained and held in the accounts of certain agencies of the Federal Government  domiciled in commercial banks in breach of the Treasury Single Account policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the designated account(s) of the Federal Government domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria whereof he would be paid five (5) % of the sum recovered. In acceding to his proposal, on the 14th of July, 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by MR. ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN, Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria appointed PROF. YEMI AKINSEYE-GEORGE, SAN, FCIARB of 19, Mahatma Gandhi, Behind Bulet Garden, Asokoro, Abuja as its lawful attorney to act on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the purpose, among others, of:
(a)    Utilizing his professional and technical skills/resources to recover and/or ensure remittance of unremitted Federal Government Funds deposited, retained and held in the accounts of certain agencies of the Federal Government domiciled in commercial banks in breach of the Treasury Single Account policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the designated account(s) of the Federal Government domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
(b)   Collaborating with the relevant security and law enforcement agencies including but not limited to the Nigerian Police Force, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Department of State Services, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit with a view to recovering and/or ensuring that the unremitted funds are remitted to the designated account of the Federal Government.
(c)     Attending meetings, negotiating settlement, and taking any other step whatsoever which the Attorney may consider necessary under the relevant laws to give effect to his letter of instruction and the Power of Attorney.
(d)   To prepare and submit periodic reports to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on his progress in achieving the purpose of this instrument.
Following the power of attorney and the letter of instruction referred to earlier, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation [as 1st and 2nd Plaintiffs] filed an Originating Summons before [the Lagos Division of] the Federal High Court, dated the 18th day of July, 2017 and signed by B.O. AKINSEYE-GEORGE, (Mrs.) of PROF. YEMI AKINSEYE-GEORGE, SAN & Partners. 17. The Originating Summons referenced in the preceding paragraph is marked SUIT NO: FHC/L/CS/1121/2017 and has seven commercial banks as defendants to wit:
(a)UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC; (b) DIAMOND BANK PLC;  (c) SKYE BANK PLC; (d) FIRST BANK LTD; (e) FIDELITY BANK PLC; (f) KEYSTONE BANK LTD AND (g) STERLING BANK PLC. Sufficient to quickly state that in the aggregate, the total sum of money belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria illegally holed up in the custody of these financial institutions is a little above $484,000,000 (Four Hundred and Twenty-Four Million United States Dollars).
The grounds which the Federal Government of Nigeria relied on in bringing the suit against the seven delinquent banks are discernible from the Originating Summons and the affidavit in support wherein the Federal Government stated that:
(a)    It is in the interest of the public good of all Nigerians that the declaratory reliefs and mandatory orders sought in this suit be granted by this Honourable Court.
(b)   The 1st to 7th Respondents in collaboration with and/or collusion with unknown officials of the 1st Applicant conspired to disobey the relevant Constitutional provisions and thereby depriving the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of funds belonging to it which are needed urgently to fund pressing national projects under the 2017 Budget.
(c)    The funds illegally held in the accounts in question are urgently required by the 1st Plaintiff for executing the 2017 budget which was recently signed into law.
(d)   Unless the unremitted funds lying in the custody of the 1st to 7th defendants are quickly recovered and permanently remitted to the TSA, the funds stand the risk of being diverted, misapplied, stolen or misappropriated.
(e)    The granting of the reliefs sought in the originating summons will advance the public good, ensure compliance with the Constitution and serve the interest of justice.
It was on the strength of the foregoing grounds, among others, that the Federal Government of Nigeria vigorously persuaded the Court to favour its supplications which among others, include;
(a)    A DECLARATION that the failure, refusal and or neglect of the 1st to 7th defendants to remit funds belonging to the 1st Plaintiff or its agencies to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in violation of the Guidelines on the implementation of the TSA/e-collection policy is a violation of the provisions of sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 [As Amended].
(b)   AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 1st to 7th defendants, their agents, servants, privies or any other persons claiming through them from further withholding payment of funds of the Federal Government of Nigeria being Revenues, Donations, Transfers, Refunds, Grants, Taxes, Fees, Duties, Tariffs, etc. meant for the Federation Account/Consolidated Revenue Fund Account/TSA in compliance with Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Guidelines on the implementation of the TSA/e-collection policy.
Expectedly, the Banks [with the exception of SKYE BANK PLCwhich was unrepresented throughout the proceedings] robustly greeted the claims of the Federal Government of Nigeria with strident protestations all of which are/were remarkable for their unanimity in challenging the propriety of the interim Order of the Court dated the 20th day of July, 2017 which the defendants sought in unison to set aside. Apart from their different applications to move the Court to set aside its impugned interim order of 20th July, 2017, they [the Banks] equally filed counter-affidavits, bedecked with copious documentary exhibits, in urging the Court to dismiss the claims of the Federal Government against them even though on disparate grounds. Most germane to the crux of this enterprise is the revelation that came from KEYSTONE BANK limited. In its counter-affidavit, the Bank averred thus:
(a)   The funds with the 6th Defendant are the funds domiciled in a Joint Venture Account maintained by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) specifically for the operation of NPDC/NNPC development and production activities of Oil Mining Leases.
(b)   The Presidential directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the 1st Plaintiff was issued on August 7, 2015. However, on September 18, 2015, NNPC wrote the 6th Defendant informing it that following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s categorization of NNPC as a commercial entity with business imperatives, NNPC’s funds with the 6th Defendant are excluded from the TSA.
(c)    Subsequently, on July 19, 2016, the CBN further wrote the 6th Defendant via a letter with Reference No. BPSD/IFO/KEYSTONE/VOL. 1/2016, notifying the 6th Defendant that the NNPC’s Joint Venture account with the 6th Defendant is exempted from the TSA.
By inexplicable twist of events, without squaring up with the counter-affidavits of the banks, the FGN, through its attorney, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, FCIArb, by Notice of Discontinuance dated and filed on the 7th of August, 2017 entered a Notice of Discontinuance in Suit No.: FHC/L/CS/1121/2017 pursuant to Order 50 Rule 2 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009, while citing “ the demands of public interest ” as the reason for seeking to backpedal on its claims against the banks with respect to the whooping sum of over Four Hundred and Eighty-Four Million United States Dollars illegally warehoused in their vaults.

OBJECTIVE OF THIS PIECE:
Most regrettably, the FGN, who sanctimoniously, proclaimed “the demands of public interest” as the reason to backtrack from retrieving these humongous sums from treasure house of the delinquent banks equally proffered the same reason of “the demands of public interest” as a one of the grounds for setting the law in motion, ab initio, against these banks. It now beggars the question whether the demands of public interest is commodious enough as to accommodate [within its canopied ambience] the flagrant violation of sacred Constitutional provisions especially those relating to transparency in dealing with the treasury of the nation. Why it has become imperative to allow the violation of the Constitution by these banks which the FGN earlier stridently kicked against is the focal concern of the present enquiry since all Nigerians are equal stakeholders in preserving our hard-earned Constitutional democracy so that an organized society may not come to a perilous end by unbridled impunity, systemic corruption and elitist conspiracy by the privileged few who are out to betray the trust of public office they occupy to the detriment of other Nigerians who are the legitimate and ultimate beneficiaries of the trust with the undoubted right to call the trustees to account at any relevant time such as now.
THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF PRESIDENTIAL EXEMPTION:
We consider it relevant to begin from the beginning by first and foremost outlining those provisions of the law that are the subject-matter of interpretation in this academic enquiry. They are Sections 80 (1) and 162 of the Constitution and paragraph 4.21 of the GUIDELINES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE Treasury Single Account [TSA]/ e-collection [henceforth in this written address called the Guidelines for terseness]. We set them down seriatim:
Section 80(1) All revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
Section 162(1) The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called "the Federation Account" into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
paragraph 4.21 of the TSA GUIDELINES:
Procedure for application for exemption
(a)   All requests for exemption should be addressed to His Excellency, The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Since what we are dealing with is what interpretation is to be ascribed to Sections 80 (1) and 162 of the Constitution (1) vis-à-vis the Guidelines, it has become relevant to recall the principles governing interpretation of our Constitution as laid down by the Supreme Court in a plethora of cases too numerous to mention here. A community and dispassionate reading of the following cases;
- A-G Bendel State v. A-G Federation & Ors (1982) 3 NCLR 1; (1981) 9 S.C. (Reprint) 1 at 78-79; Global Excellence Communication Ltd. v. Duke (2007) 16 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 1059) S.C. 22 at pages 41-42 A-G, Bendel State v. A-G, Federation and Ors [1981] N.S.C.C. 314, 372-373. Buhari v. Obasanjo [2005] 13 NWLR (Pt. 941) 1, 281; F.R.N. v. Osahan [2006] All FWLR (Pt. 312) 1975, 2019; Savannah Bank Ltd Ajilo [1989] 1 NWLR (Pt. 97) 305, 326; A.D.H. Ltd v. A.T. Ltd (No. 2) [2007] ALL FWLR (Pt. 392) 1781; A-G, Abia State v. A-G, Federation [2005] All FWLR (Pt. 275) 414, 450; A-G, Ondo State v. Ekiti State [2001] FWLR (Pt. 79) 1431, 1472-1473, would amply reveal the principles guiding the courts in interpreting or construing the provisions of our Constitution. From an intimate reading of the alluring reasoning in these decisions, the following broad rules, among others, may be concreted:
(a) Effect should be given to every word
(b) A construction nullifying a specific clause will not be given to the Constitution unless absolutely required by the context.
(c) A Constitutional power cannot be used by way of condition to attain unconstitutional result.
(d) The language of the Constitution where clear and unambiguous must be given its plain evident meaning.
(e) The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an organic scheme of government to be dealt with as an entirety; a particular provision cannot be dissevered from the rest of the Constitution.
(f) While the language of the Constitution does not change, the changing circumstances of a progressive society for which it was designed yield new and fuller import to meaning.
(g) A Constitutional provision should not be construed so as to defeat its evident purpose.
(h) Under a Constitution conferring specific powers, a particular power must be granted or it cannot be exercised.
(i) Delegation by the National Assembly of its essential Legislative function is precluded by the Constitution 58(4) and section 4(1)
(j) Words are the common signs that mankind make use of to declare their intention one to another and when the words of a man expresses his meaning plainly and distinctly and perfectly, there is no occasion to have recourse to any other means of interpretation.
(k) The principle upon which the Constitution was established rather than the direct operation or literal meaning of the words used, measure the purpose and scope of its provisions.
(l) Words of the Constitution are therefore not to be read with stultifying narrowness.
Flowing from the above, we have been sufficiently taught, by our Fathers in the law, that “Under a Constitution conferring specific powers, a particular power must be granted or it cannot be exercisedElelu-Habeeb v. AGF (2012) 13 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 1318) and that “where the words are clear and unambiguous, a literal interpretation will be applied, that is, they will be accorded their plain and grammatical meaning”, Ojokolobo v. Alamu (1987) NWLR (Pt.61)377. 2. We respectfully canvass the view that neither Section 80(1) nor Section 162 (1) of the Constitution is recondite or obscure. They both are “clear and unambiguous” Olanrewaju vs. Governor of Oyo State (1992) 9 NWLR (Pt.265) 335 and therefore, “a literal interpretation will be applied” Egbe vs. Yusuf (1992) 6 SCNJ 263 5 which means that “they will be accorded their plain and grammatical meaning”. Ahmed v. Kassim (1958) SCNLR 58. We respectfully posit, that a closer scrutiny of Section 80(1) of the Constitution would reveal that the intention of the framers of the Constitution is very clear and unambiguous. This line of reasoning is strengthened by the use of the word “ALL” in introducing the section. Added to this is the use of the word “SHALL” denoting command and occlusion of discretion. In SIRIKA & ANOR. V. BELLO & ORS.(2010) LPELR-4960(CA), the following useful passage appears from the judgment of Okoro, J.C.A. [as he then was, now J.S.C.]:
This is because the word "shall" when used in a statute connote a command or what is legally unavoidable or inescapable and mandatory. See Onochie V. Odogwu (supra) Omokeodo V. IGP (1999) 6 NWLR (pt 607) 467.
In Braithwaite v G.D.M (1998) 7 NWLR PT. 557 307 at 327, the word “ALL” fell for interpretation and the court came to this unassailable view:
“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the word 'all' in construing a statute is extremely recalcitrant, and if the word 'all' is to cut down so as to exclude certain things which might come under the description, that must be done in the clearest possible language. The proper way of construing a word like the word 'all' in such a context as this is to say that 'all' means 'all', and it does not mean 'some',….”
The impregnable summation eventuating from the examined authorities in relation to the facts of this case is that there is no discretion as to which revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation. It equally sums up to the position that the Federation shall maintain a special account to be called "the Federation Account" into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation. Indeed, any  other meaning apart from the above would be strange if not standing logic on its head.
With the above established position of the law, what now remains is to determine whether or not there is any specific provision [within the orbit of Sections 80 and 162] of the Constitution that empowers the President to derogate or permit any person or authority to derogate from the “commanding, peremptory and mandatory” demands of Sections 80 and 162. This is because, where it is found that such power has not been vested in the President by the Constitution itself, then the Guidelines [if proved to be a subsidiary legislation] cannot give what its parent legislation [the Constitution] does not have or permit. With the deepest humility, we submit that our diligent combing of the relevant Sections 80 and 162 did not reveal any provision empowering the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from derogating or permitting any person or authority [by waiver or exemption] from the “commanding, peremptory and mandatory” demands of Sections 80 and 162. If the framers of the Constitution had wanted to invest the President with such powers, it would not have been a difficult task for them to expressly do especially since our Constitution is known for its use of specific language in conferring/investing power(s) in state officials like the President. What is more, our Supreme Court in its plethora of decisions teaches us that one of the cardinal principles of constitutional interpretation [which we have earlier itemized] is that “Under a Constitution conferring specific powers, a particular power must be granted or it cannot be exercised”. Global Excellence Communication Ltd. v. Duke (supra); Elelu-Habeeb v. AGF (supra) and Skye Bank vs. Iwu (supra). We submit, with respect, that no specific power of granting waiver or exemption from the TSA was conferred on any person or authority by the Constitution. Consequentially, such power CANNOT be exercised by any person.

THE TSA GUIDELINES IS NOT A SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION:
The Court of Appeal [Per Garba, J.C.A.] in NJOKU & ORS. v. IHEANATU & ORS [2008] LPELR - 3871 (CA) in defining a subsidiary legislation teaches us that:
A subsidiary legislation or enactment is one that was subsequently made or enacted under and pursuant to the power conferred by the principal legislation or enactment. It derives its force and efficacy from the principal legislation to which it is therefore secondary and complimentary
There is no provision where either the President or any other authority whatsoever is empowered by the Constitution to make Rules or Guidelines for the effective implementation of the provisions of Sections 80 and 162. For any document to qualify as a “subsidiary legislation”, the author of such document must, by his own showing, point to the provision of the parent Act/legislation delegating to him the exercise of the power of making further Rules since a subsidiary legislation is a delegated legislation pursuant to the power conferred by the principal legislation or enactment, Njoku v. Iheanatu (supra). If the Constitution had wanted to confer such power of delegated legislation under its Sections 80 and 162, it would have expressly said so and on whom it is conferring it. Little wonder then, the Guidelines fought shy of mentioning its legislative ancestry and did not say a word about its author or from where its author derived the powers to promulgate same as a subsidiary legislation which is common with all subsidiary legislations. The Guidelines remains what it is, mere guidelines which has been held by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as not being subsidiary Legislation.
In U.B.N. Plc v. Ifeoluwa (Nig.) Ent. Ltd [2007] 7 NWLR (Pt.1032); (2006) LPELR-7741(CA) the Court of Appeal [dwelling on the status of a guideline] held thus:
The Central Bank of Nigeria from time to time prepares a list of charges, guidelines and policy pursuant to powers vested on it by S.15 of the Banking Act. These policy documents are commonly referred to in the banking community as Central Bank Guidelines. They are not subsidiary legislations and do not fall into the class of documents the courts must take judicial notice of. Any Central Bank guideline relied upon, must therefore be proved in evidence by producing same in court - see H.N.B. Ltd. v. Gifts Unique (Nig.) Ltd. (2004) 15 NWLR (Pt. 896) 408 at 428." Per AGBO, J.C.A. (P.13, Paras.C-F) [emphasis supplied]
Re-iterating this principle, the Supreme Court in the recent case of Comptroller General of Custom & Ors v. Comptroller Abdullahi B. Gusau (2017) LPELR-42081(SC) held as follows:
“I am in complete agreement with my learned brother, Ejembi Eko, JSC that the appellant's Policy Guidelines on Nigeria Customs Reform do not qualify as a subsidiary legislation. The guidelines are subordinate to and cannot override the statutory provisions of the Public Service Rules.”[emphasis supplied]
In the leading judgment, Eko, J.S.C. emphatically confirmed the reasoning of the Court of Appeal in U.B.N. Plc v. Ifeoluwa (Nig.) Ent. Ltd (supra) in these words:
“R.C. Agbo, JCA, in UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC & ANOR. v. IFEOLUWA NIG. ENTERPRISES LTD (2007) 7 NWLR (Pt.1032) 71 at 84, had stated, and I agree, that policy documents, commonly referred to as guidelines, are not subsidiary legislations”
Assuming, arguendo, that the Guidelines is indeed a subsidiary legislation, it is still void to the extent that it purports to confer on the President [the President] the powers that the Principal Legislation [the Constitution] did not give.
This point was eloquently proclaimed by the Court in the case of Olanrewaju v. Oyeyemi & Ors. (2000) LPELR-6045(CA) where the Court of Appeal taught us this:
"It is settled law that a subsidiary legislation derives its authority and validity from and subject to the provisions of the parent enabling statute. It follows therefore that a subsidiary legislation cannot expand or curtail the provisions of the substantive statute. It must be within the authority derived in the main enabling statute. See Din v. A. -G., Federation (1988) 4 NWLR (Pt.87) 147; Gov., Oyo State v. Folayan (1995) 8 NWLR (pt.413) 292 at 327 and Ishola v. Ajiboye (1994) 6 NWLR (Pt.352) 506 at 621." Per TABAI, J.C.A. (P. 34, paras. D-G)
There is indeed no contestation about the settled position of the law which is that a subsidiary legislation has the force of law by virtue of Section 18(1) of the Interpretation Act. Courts of law have consistently affirmed this position Abubakar v. Bebeji Oil and Allied Products LTD & Ors (2007) LPELR-55(SC). This writer does not quarrel with this long settled position of the law. But as a condition precedent, the ground rule remains that for such subsidiary legislation to enjoy the beneficial provision of Section 18(1) of the Interpretation Act, it must conform with and speak the same language as its parent Act. Gov., Oyo State v. Folayan (supra). It follows therefore that a subsidiary legislation cannot expand or curtail the provisions of the substantive statute. Ishola v. Ajiboye (supra). It must be within the authority derived in the main enabling statute. Olanrewaju v. Oyeyemi & Ors(supra). It is on the strength of the foregoing analysis that we take the view that the TSA Guidelines is unconstitutional to the extent that it seeks to vest in the President the powers to grant waivers which the Constitution itself did not provide for. The agglomeration of all the analysis so far advanced, festooned with charming congregation of judicial authorities, affords us with the jurisprudential beacons in arriving at the inevitable this ineluctable conclusion.
SUMMATION:
Section 15(5) of the Constitution provides that “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”. A close study of the TSA Guidelines shows that some of the benefits of complying with the TSA are to ensure availability of funds for the execution of government policies, programmes and projects and to improve transparency and accountability of all FGN receipts.. This goes to confirm that the wisdom underlying the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution is to abolish corruption. The Federal Government admitted this when it informed the Federal High Court in Lagos that non-remittance of these funds are depriving the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of funds belonging to it which are needed urgently to fund pressing national projects under the 2017 Budget. The FGN equally confirmed to the Court that unless the unremitted funds lying in the custody of the 1st to 7th defendants are quickly recovered and permanently remitted to the TSA, the funds stand the risk of being diverted, misapplied, stolen or misappropriated. Despite these loud admissions, President Buhari [who has anti-corruption fight as one of the strongest pillars of his government] is now promoting corruption and undermining the very Constitution he swore to uphold by whimsically granting exemption to some MDAs which, on the state of the law, is patently unconstitutional. Exempting MDAs from the peremptory demands of the TSA [for whatever good or bad reason] constitutes an exercise of power without any constitutional foundation. It is an evil spoke in the hub of transparency which the majority of the document otherwise represents. The sore finger must now be axed before it gets gangrenous. The FGN engaged in doublespeak when it told the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that the reason for filing the suit against the delinquent backs and the reason for withdrawing the said suit is one and the same; “the demands of public interest”. The FGN cannot be seen as running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. That would amount to walking the both sides of the street at the same time. They owe the Nigerian citizens explanations as to whose interest is being served by shielding humongous sums running into Hundreds of Millions of Dollars from the Treasury Single Account. It is noteworthy that while the FGN has decided to turn blind to this humongous sums unlawfully stashed away from the TSA, it has approached the Nigerian Senate for approval to borrow approximately a whooping Five Billion Dollars to fund the same 2017 budget. We must all ask questions as to whose interest these hidden monies are serving by remaining outside the coverage of the TSA in blatant violation of our Constitution. If we must end impunity, abolish corruption, abuse of office and build a new nation, the whole citizens must get involved. The time is now!

Johnmary Chukwukasi Jideobi, Esq. is a Criminal Defence Attorney, Human Rights Activist, Managing Partner at Gold Standard Attorneys and Co-Founder, Justice Without Borders Network. You can reach him on: 08131131942 OR joannesmaria2009@yahoo.com
PRESIDENTIAL EXEMPTION UNDER THE TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINE: A FRAUD ON THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE AND HER CONSTITUTION by: Johnmary Jideobi, Esq. PRESIDENTIAL EXEMPTION UNDER THE TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINE: A FRAUD ON THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE AND HER CONSTITUTION by: Johnmary Jideobi, Esq. Reviewed by David Brunt on Friday, January 05, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments: