Aregbesola : Court reserves ruling on release of judiciary funds

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An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has reserved ruling on a suit seeking an order compelling the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola to produce details of funds released by the state government to the state judiciary.

Justice Kudirat Akano fixed till Thursday, January 26, 2017 for the ruling on Thursday, January 19 after listening to the arguments of Barrister Kanmi Ajibola, a plaintiff who also stood for himself before the court in the case.

Barrister Ajibola, a right activist had written a letter on October 13, 2016 demanding from Mr. Aregbesola details of funds released in the last seven years by both the Federal and the State Governments to the state judiciary.

In the letter which he copied the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Accountant General of the Federation and the National Judicial Council (NJC), the lawyer gave the governor seven days to accede to his request.

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Also, by the placement of the constitutional duty, Barrister Ajibola argued that every citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has the right to make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well being of the community where he resides.

“In the light of the two legal position above referred, I make request for the following full information about all the funds accruable to the Osun State judiciary from both the FGN and the state government from November 2010 to date.

“I also demand full information about the money so far released to the Osun State judiciary from the funds accruable to it from the FGN and the state government from November 2010 with the evidence of payment

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According to the lawyer who also copied his letter to the state Speaker of the House of Assembly and the state Chief Judge (CJ), he noted that on a special demand, the state judiciary deserved a financial autonomy, except if the governor deliberately “defunds it to have the dictate of justice in any matter the Osun State Government has interest in”.

But as Aregbesola’s refused to release the said funds’ details, Barrister Ajibola headed for court, seeking an order of mandamus compelling the state governor to give details of funds given to the state judiciary.

The lawyer informed the court that he has filed necessary papers and that his application was brought under order 40 of the procedural rule of the State High Court and Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

Besides, he stated that apart from Section 6 Sub-Section 66 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria which gave him power to ask the governor to make available how he released funds to the third arm of government, relevant affidavits and exhibits were filed to justify his position.

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While urging the court to grant his requests since he has fulfilled all legal procedures, Barrister Ajibola noted that, “the governor’s failure or refusal to respond to my letter is the basis of this suit and I want to court to grant this order compelling the Mr. Aregbesola to declare all monies he released to the judiciary since 2010”

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