By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, Sept. 22, 2022 A university student, Soohemba Aker, has prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja for an order of interlocutory injunction suspending the activities of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
Aker, a final year Law student of Benue State University, Markudi, also sought same order suspending the operation of Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), including payment of the monthly allocation funds to 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th respondents pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that RMAFC is responsible for advising federal and state governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue can be increased and determines remuneration packages of political office holders.
NAN also reports that FAAC ensures that resources are distributed among the beneficiaries of the Federation Account in accordance with constitutional provisions and uphold the interpretations by the Supreme Court on areas requiring such clarification.
The Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker and Governor of Abia (also sued in his own official capacity and in representative capacity for all the other governors of the 36 states of the federation) are 3rd to 5th respondents respectively.
The Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, the Attorney General of Abia (also sued in representative capacity for all the other Attorney Generals of the 36 states of the federation); the Vice Chancellor(VC) of the University of Abuja (also sued in representative capacity for all the other vice chancellors and the members of the Senate of both federal and state universities currently participating in the ongoing ASUU Strike) are 8th to 10th respondents respectively.
The student, in a fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1684/2022 and filed by her lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, had, in addition, sued the Federal Government, Registered Trustees of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as 1st and 2nd respondents.
She also sued RMAFC, FAAC and Umar Faruk (President, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS) as 6th, 7th and 11th respondents respectively.
The applicant, who said she is currently affected by the ongoing strike, filed the action for herself on behalf of all students of public tertiary institutions currently affected by the nationwide ASUU strike.
The case was filed pursuant to Sections 46(1), (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Chapter A9 (Charter 10 LFN 1990) No. 2 of 1983.
In the application, Aker prayed the court for an order stopping the payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of all political office holders at the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the chief of staff to the president, all Senate and House of Representatives members.
She also urged the court to stop salaries and allowances of all ministers, permanent secretaries, head of parastatals and extra-ministerial bodies, all VCs of striking universities, as well as the salaries and allowances of members of Senate of said striking universities, salaries and allowances of all members of ASUU pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice.
She equally sought an order of mandamus compelling the defendants including members of Senate of the striking universities to return to the 1st respondent (FG) their monthly salaries, allowances and other benefits received individually or collectively from the day the industrial action of the 2nd respondent (ASUU) commenced till date, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
In a supporting affidavit deposed to, Aker averred that the strike has continue to affect her adversely as her plans of graduating this academic year 2022 and to apply for admissions into the Nigerian Law School had been thwarted.
She said that her tuition fees paid for the academic year will go in vain as the academic year is almost lost if nothing is done.
She stated further that her dreams of becoming a law graduate and a future lawyer are at the verge of collapsing as her sponsor had made it clear that this year was the last year to sponsor her in school, among others.
The matter is yet to be assigned to a judge.