The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday rejected a request of the Rivers State Government to temporarily stop the deduction of funds from the Federation Account for the funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
The state government’s lawyer, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), had at the Thursday’s proceedings, urged Justice Ahmed Mohammed to issue the interim order after the Federal Government’s agents in the case pleaded for more time to explore the option of amicable resolution of the dispute in the case.
Daudu urged the court to make the interim order or make the government’s lawyers to give an undertaking to stop the deductions pending the conclusion of the settlement talks.
But the defendants’ lawyers opposed the request and declined to give an undertaking for the suspension of the funds deduction.
Representing the Attorney-General of the Federation, who is joined as the first defendant in the case, Mr Tijani Gazali said, “Agreed, it is a contractual relationship which is about give-and-take, but parties cannot by consent stop the operations of the law.”
Ruling, Justice Mohammed said while the court would not want to stand in the way of an amicable settlement of the matter, it would also not entertain any steps capable of preventing the expeditious determination of the case.
Rather than grant the request for an interim order by the Rivers State Government, the judge reaffirmed the order of accelerated hearing which he earlier issued for the case on June 10.
The Rivers State Government had challenged the constitutionality and validity of sections 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019, which permit the deduction of 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account and be paid to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
The Governor Nyesom Wike-led Rivers State Government contended that it was not the responsibility of the state governments but that of the Federal Government to fund the police.