A federal high court in Abuja has declared that the direct deduction of funds from the federation account to fund the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is illegal.
In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, held that the provisions of section 4(1)(a) (b) of the Police Trust Fund Act 2019, requiring the deduction of 0.05 percent of any funds in the federation account and 0.005 percent of the net profit of companies operating in Nigeria to fund the police are unconstitutional.
Mohammed said the provisions are contrary to the provisions of section 162(1) (3) of the constitution, which states that the payment of total revenue collected by the government of the federation, including levies and taxes, into the federation account is for sharing among the three tiers of government.
Consequently, the judge ordered the federal government to refund all money deducted from the federation account belonging to Rivers state government.
Rivers state, through its attorney-general, had on May 20, 2020, filed a suit against the federal government’s decision to fund the NPF from the federation account.
The attorney-general of the federation (AGF), accountant-general of the federation, auditor-general of the federation and the minister of finance were joined as defendants in the suit.
Rivers state contended that it was not the responsibility of the state governments but that of the federal government to fund the police.
It prayed the court to declare the section of the law “permitting the direct deduction of any sum or percentage of revenue accruing to the federation account or which ought to have been paid into the federation account for the purpose of providing funds for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund” as “unconstitutional, null and void”.
It also urged the court to order a refund of the money deducted from the federation account and paid into the NPTF since when it was informed in April 2020 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The court ruled in favour of the state.
However, the judge stated that Rivers state will be the only beneficiary from the refund of the deduction and not the remaining 35 states.