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Attorney-General Of Abia State & Ors v. Attorney-General Of The Federation (2003) - SC


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CASE SUMMARY OF:
Attorney-General Of Abia State & Ors v. Attorney-General Of The Federation (2003) - SC
by PaulPipAr

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PARTIES
PLAINTIFFS

A.G OF ABIA STATE & 35 Ors

v.

DEFENDANT

A.G Of The Federation

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CITATION
(2003) LPELR-SC.227/2002;
(2003) 1 S.C. (PT. II)1;
(2003) 4 NWLR (PT.809) 124

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COURT
Supreme Court of Nigeria

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LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, JSC

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LAWYERS WHO ADVOCATED
FOR THE PLAINTIFFS
- O.C.J. Okocha. SAN

FOR THE DEFENDANT
- Mr. Jacobs


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FACT
The Plaintiffs are the Attorneys-General of all the thirty-six states of Nigeria who, on behalf of their respective states, brought this action against the Attorney-General of the Federation representing the Federal Government of Nigeria. The grouse of the plaintiffs is the Statutory Instrument No. 9 of 2002 wherein the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, made an order modifying the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account Etc.) Act, 1990 as amended by Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) Decree (No. 106) of 1992. By the 1992 Decree (No. 106), Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the principal Act were amended. It is the principal Act as amended by Decree 106 of 1992 that has now been modified. This order is now challenged.

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ISSUE
1. Whether S.315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 authorises the President to amend the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) Act, Cap. 16. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, as amended by the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) (Amendment) Act, 1992 in the manner and to the extent contained in paragraphs 2(1)(a) and 3 of the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) (Modification) Order, 2002?

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HOLDING
1. The Supreme Court granted Issue 1 in favour of the defendant, it held, "the President has wide power when modifying any existing law to bring it in conformity with the Constitution. It is true that "separation of powers" is essential to a healthy democracy, the power given the President and also to State Governors in existing law of the State by the Constitution is not an abuse of the principle or doctrine of separation of powers, it is essential to giving meaning to an existing law so that the Constitution itself is not abused."; "I therefore hold that the exercise of the power to modify the allocation formula in the existing Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account Etc.) Act (Cap. 16, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990) as amended by Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account Etc) (Amendment) Decree (No. 106 of 1992) is constitutional and within the scope of his right under the Constitution."

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REFERENCED
Section 232 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999;
S. 162(1)(2) of CFRN 1999;
Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, Etc.) (Modification) Order, 2002;
S.315(1),(2),(3),(4), CFRN 1999;

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NOTABLE DICTA
The Constitution is the supreme law of this country; without it no law can independently exist. - Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, JSC. A.G Abia State v. A.G Federation (2003)

It must be pointed out that no two democratic constitutions are the same. Our own constitution has its peculiarities due to our historical circumstance. - Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, JSC. A.G Abia State v. A.G Federation (2003)

Ideally, propounded principles of constitutional law should be applied in the interpretation of the Constitution; but where such principles are expressly or impliedly excluded by the Constitution itself, I am afraid it will be difficult or untenable for the courts to follow the dictates of the principles. - Uwais CJN. A.G Abia State v. A.G Federation (2003)

I think it is the provisions of the Constitution that the courts give effect to and not to strict adherence to such principles like separation of powers except where these principles assist in the construction of particular provisions of the Constitution. Ogundare, JSC. A.G Abia State v. A.G Federation (2003)

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