Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 20 Nigerians have file a lawsuit against the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, for unilaterally and arbitrarily increasing the allocation for lawmakers from N197 billion to N344 billion, their highest since the return of democracy in 1999.
The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP and 20 concerned Nigerians by their lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Andrew.
Akpabio and Abbas are sued for themselves and on behalf of all members of the National Assembly.
In December 2023, the lawmakers had increased their allocation from N197 billion proposed by President Bola Tinubu for them in the budget to N344 billion, drawing in total, draw N514 billion from the 2024 budget.
The lawmakers had also in 2023 arbitrarily increased their own budget from the originally proposed N169 billion to N228 billion.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/68/2024 filed at the weekend at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiff are asking the court to determine whether the lawmakers, in the exercise of their powers over appropriation/money bills, can unilaterally increase their own budget without the re-presentation of the budget by the Executive.
The plaintiff wants the court to declare that the National Assembly, in the exercise of its powers over appropriation/money bills, cannot unilaterally increase its own budget without the re-presentation of the budget by the president in line with Section 81 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).
They requested the court to declare that the action of the National Assembly, by unilaterally increasing its own budget from N197 billion to N344 billion without the re-presentation of the budget by the President, is a breach of the democratic principles of separation of powers and checks and balances.
In the, they explained that members of the National Assembly are public officers, who have taken the constitutional oath of office to perform their respective duties in the interest of Nigerian citizens.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.