February 24 2015
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Three Arms Zone
SCRAPPING OF FEDERAL AGENCIES AND COMMISSIONS ESTABLISHED BY LAW WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
We are writing from Citizens Wealth Platform (CWP), a Platform of non-governmental and faith based organizations, professional associations and other citizens groups dedicated to ensuring that public resources are made to work and be of benefit to all.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 expressly provides for separation of powers when in S.4, it vests the legislative powers of the Federation in the National Assembly (NASS) while S.5 vests executive powers on the President. The executive and legislature are supposed to work together for the good governance of Nigeria and no arm is supposed to usurp the powers and functions of the other.
However, recent events indicate that the executive arm is in the process of usurping legislative powers without a word of protest or action to stop the clear trespass on legislative powers by NASS. The executive has started taking concrete and far reaching steps to scrap some Agencies established by law without first seeking to repeal or amend the laws establishing the Agencies.
By a letter dated November 13 2014 from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) addressed to the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME), the CME was instructed to ensure that Agencies, Parastatals and Commissions in an attached list cease to receive Government funding with effect from the 2015 Appropriation. The list includes the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) and 12 other Agencies. The SGF stated that this was in accordance with the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions. By a further letter addressed to the CME from the SGF, he clarified that necessary steps are being taken to redeploy the staff to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
The gravamen of our petition is that the FRC and the other Agencies are established by extant Acts of NASS which have not been repealed; neither has there been bills sent to NASS proposing the repeal of the enabling laws. Even the report of the original Restructuring and Rationalisation Committee headed by Stephen Oronsaye and the ensuing White Paper acknowledged the need for the executive to engage the legislature to effect the restructuring through repeals, amendments of existing laws, etc. Restructuring ought to be done within the confines of the due process of law.
The FRC is an Agency established to oversee the implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) which provides for measures to ensure the prudent management of the nation’s resources, ensure long term macro-economic stability of the national economy, secure greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within a medium term fiscal policy framework and to ensure the promotion and enforcement of the nation’s economic objectives. At this time of declining national revenue from oil resources, the FRC needs to be strengthened and tasked to perform its statutory duties rather than being abolished. It is a fact that in its relatively short period of existence, the FRC has recovered (under S.22 and 23 of the FRA) over N336.6bn as operating surplus from scheduled corporations as at the end of 2013.
It is our request that NASS intervenes and reverse the steps so far taken by the executive to abolish the FRC and other Agencies established by law. These steps of the executive are clearly unconstitutional, illegal and a manifestation of recklessness which the doctrine of checks and balances empowers NASS to checkmate.
We look forward to your urgent intervention.
Eze Onyekpere Esq.
Convenor, Citizens Wealth Platform
This petition is further endorsed by the following organisations
- Auwwal Musa, Executive Director, (E.D) Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
- Esther Agbon, Programme Officer, Action Aid Nigeria
- Otive Igbuzor, E.D, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development
- Lukman Adekunle, Coordinator, Zero Corruption Coalition
- Ezenwa Nwagu, Convenor, Say No Campaign
- Salahudeen Hashim, Programme Coordinator, West African Civil Society Forum
- Z Ya’u, E.D, Centre for Information Technology and Development
- George Hill-Anthony, E.D, Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group
- Yemi Adamolekun, E.D. Enough is Enough
- Olusegun Onigbinde, E.D, BudgIT
- Edet Raymond, Trustee, Commonwealth of Niger Delta Youths
- Gloria John, Country Director, Centre for International Volunteers for Youth Development
- Jaye Gaskia, Director, Protest to Power Movement
- Marcel Obioma, Director, New Nigeria Youths Organisations
- Ken Ukoha, President, National Association of Nigerian Traders
- Engr Mohammed N.B Ahmed, E.D, Centre for Peace Project and Development
- Shehu Aliyu, E.D, Westphalia Initiatives
- Michael A. Oke, E.D, Michael Adedoke Foundation
- George Monyi, E.D, Majesty Community for Rural Development Foundation
- Comrade Nelson Nwafor, E.D, FENRAD
- Christian Njoku, E.D, Peoples Empowerment Forum
- Chris Azor, E.D, International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre
- Abbas Najume, E.D, Youths for Peace and Development
- Idris Miliki, E.D, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution