Constitutional Law

INTRODUCTION.

It is no gain saying that Nigeria is one of those countries that operates a federal system of government. Nigeria is a country of extraordinary diversity and as such, extraordinary complexities. These complexities are a reflection of the avalanche of ethno-cultural and religious groups co-habiting the territory and the intricacies of the interaction among them. it is for this primary reason that Nigeria has adopted the federal system of government, but considering the high level of political instability, ethnic and religious crisis, plaguing Nigeria, Nigeria is operating a federal system that is awkward and a far cry from what true federalism entails as postulated by Professor K.C Wheare and our own Professor Ben Nwabueze. The purpose of this paper is to give an insight into Nigeria federalism by looking at decisions and judgements made by Nigerian courts and how they have shaped the course of Nigeria Federalism through the years.

1.

A.G FEDERATION V. A.G LAGOS STATE[1].

Pursuant to Section 4(2) (3) item 60(d) Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the National Assembly enacted the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act 1992 . The Act created the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation whose functions were to register, classify, grade and regulate all Hotels, Motels, Hospitality and tourism enterprises, and tour operators.  In 2003, the Lagos State Government passed into law the Hotel Licensing Law Cap H6 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003, which conflicted with the mandate of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act. In 2009, the Lagos State Government published a public notice that registration of hotels and tourism related establishments in Lagos State was the exclusive responsibility of the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism and intergovernmental relations. The law was subsequently amended by the Hotel Licensing (Amendment) Law; Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette dated 20th July, 2010.

 

Based on the foregoing, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation issued a public notice advising all operators of hotels, and companies alike to disregard the earlier notice issued by the Lagos State Government. In this regard, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), on behalf of the Federal Government, commenced this action at the Supreme Court against Attorney-General of Lagos State (A-G Lagos State), by way of originating summons challenging the validity of the laws enacted by the House of Assembly of Lagos State.

 

The issues for determination were: (i) Whether regulation, registration, classification and grading of Hotels, guest houses, motels, restaurants, travel and tour agencies and other hospitality and tourism related establishments are matters in the Exclusive and Concurrent Legislative List and outside the legislative power of Lagos State House of Assembly; and (ii)Whether the laws enacted by the Lagos State Government on the subject are invalid by reason of their inconsistency with the provision of the Nigerian Tourism Development Act.

The Plaintiff’s counsel contended that by the provisions of item 60(d) of the Second Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), matters pertaining to the regulation, registration, classification, and grading of Hotels, Motels, Guest inns, Tour operating outfits, Restaurants, Travel Agencies, Fast Food Outlets and other tourist related establishments were under the exclusive legislative list. Thus, the Lagos State Government has no power to legislate and promulgate laws on those matters. The Plaintiff’s counsel fortified his position by reference and reliance on the provisions of the “Tourist Traffic Act” 1939 of the Republic of Ireland which dealt essentially with items such as enumerated in the exclusive legislative list of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Plaintiff urged the court to declare the three enactments by Lagos State Government illegal, null and void.

 

In response, the Defendant’s counsel submitted that a scrutiny of the Constitutional provisions revealed that the power of National Assembly over tourist related matters was limited to regulation of “tourist traffic” as provided in item 60(d). He also noted, the expression – “tourist traffic” is not defined in the 1999 Constitution; therefore, the Plaintiff’s definition as contained in the Republic of Ireland’s Tourist Traffic Act of 1939 was misleading and totally irrelevant. More so, as the Constitutions of the two countries are dissimilar in their system of Government, relying on the decision of Ogugu v. The State[2] On the first issue, the Honourable Justice Galadima found in favour of the Defendant. His Lordship considered the intention of the lawmakers and relied on Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 7th Edition, which defines “tourist” as a person who is travelling or visiting a place while traffic is movement of people or goods from one place to another. Applying the definitions, His Lordship was of the view that the words in item 60(d) confines the powers of the National Assembly to the regulation of only “tourist-traffic”, and held that the contention of the Plaintiff could not be sustained.

 

He stated further that Nigeria as a Federal Republic cannot adopt definitions from Republic of Ireland which practices a Unitary system of Government. In effect, the Apex court held that the National Assembly cannot take the liberty to confer power or authority on the Federal Government to engage in matters which ordinarily ought to be the responsibility of a State Government or its agencies under its residual legislative power. A-G Lagos State v. Attorney-General Federation [3]

 

On the second issue, the Apex Court identified that the pedestal upon which the claim is also anchored is the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act, an enactment deriving its authority from the provisions of the Constitution, with specific powers to register classify and grade hospitality and tourism enterprises. The Supreme Court noted that the three Laws promulgated by Lagos State are not items in the Exclusive and Concurrent lists but are rather Residual matters for the State; hence, the Laws enacted by the Lagos State Government are intra vires the powers of the State Government.

 

The Court also considered the subject introduced in the 2010 Amendment of the Hotel Licensing Law and opined thus: “I have carefully studied the main law the Hotel Licensing Law of 2003. I do not think its provisions have to do with grading or regulating of hotels generally, other than licensing. It has nothing to do with tourism perse but the October amendment of 2010 incorporated the licensing and grading of hospitality sector such as eateries, bars, casinos, hotels and event arenas etc. Clearly this is legislation by a state legislature…”

 

Relying on Section 4(7) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), where a State House of Assembly is empowered to make laws for the peace, order and good government of its state, the Supreme Court held that it was not in doubt the provision was considered by the Lagos State Government before enacting the laws.

 

On reliance of the Plaintiff on the doctrine of “covering the field”, His Lordship held such is only applicable to where a matter legislated on is in the concurrent list and the State enactment is inconsistent with the legislation of the Federal Government. Attorney- General Ogun State v. Attorney-General Federation [4]

On this note, the Supreme Court refused declarations and injunction sought by the Plaintiff holding that the case fails in its entirety and therefore dismissed same.

 

2.

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ABIA STATE  AND 2 ORS V. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION.[5]

The Monitoring of Revenue Allocation to Local Governments Act, 2005, which is the bone of contention in this matter, was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President on the 12th  day of April 2005. The Act contains ten sections. Section I provides for the establishment and membership of the Joint Local Government Account Allocation Committee for each State. Section 2 provides for the functions of the Committee. Section 3 provides for rendering of monthly returns by the Committee to the Federation Account Allocation Committee. Section 4 provides for Joint Area Councils Account Allocation Committee for the Federal Capital Territory and section 5 provides for the functions of that Committee. Section 6 provides for limitation of power of borrowing by State Governments. Section 7 prohibits State or the Federal Capital Territory to alter, deduct or re-allocate funds standing to the credit of the State Joint Local Government Account or the Federal Capital Territory Joint Area Councils Account. Section 7(3) contains penalty for contravention or breach of the provisions of section 7(1). Section 8 enjoins the Accountant General lo report to each House of the National Assembly on a quarterly basis the payments made to each State under the Act and stating whether or not the payments were correctly made under the Act. Section 9 enjoins the Auditor-General of the Federation to report to the National Assembly at the end of each financial year how the monies allocated to each State for the benefit of the Local Government Councils within the State and the Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory were spent. Section 10 is the citation clause. The above in brief is the rundown of the Act. One issue for determination was: “Whether the first defendant has the legislative competence to enact the Monitoring of Revenue Allocation to Local Governments Act, 2005 and whether the said Act is not wholly or partially inconsistent with extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

Niki Tobi JSC who delivered the judgement had this to say, “This is yet another open quarrel between the State and the Federal Government. This Court is by now thoroughly familiar and used to such quarrels, as they come before it fairly regularly in the last few years or so. The open quarrel dovetails to a subtle one between the concepts of federalism and unitarism in constitutional law and politics. Paradoxically, the two concepts do not have the slightest inkling or knowledge of the open quarrel they are roped in subtly, as they remain quiet in reference and text books. The open quarrel seems to wake them up to their apparent consternation. They seem to be used as conduit pipes in the carriage of the case of each party to a successful end. I will deal with the two concepts in this judgment, albeit briefly. The cynosure or fulcrum of the quarrel is in respect of some sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and some sections of the Monitoring of Revenue Allocation to Local Governments Act, 2005. It looks an apparently short Act of ten sections, but has caused so much anxiety, furore and turbulence. It has caused so much ill feeling and rancour too, particularly in the States. That has caused this large litigation involving the Federal Government and all the states. The Attorney-General of Abia State, the 1st plaintiff, ignited the candle that raised the fire. He set the ball rolling as he initiated the first action. He was followed by his colleague of Delta State, the Attorney General of Delta State, the 2nd plaintiff. The Attorney- General of Lagos State took the third position, not in an examination setting though…”

The Court further stated that the Act is directly solely against Governments and their public officials. The intendment of the provisions in the 1999 constitution is to grant power and autonomy to state governments in relation to local governments in a state. The National assembly by enacting the act into law had unwillingly engaged in a cause that is a hindrance to the autonomy granted a State government in its power to control the local government council (even, should this be so?). Under our constitution the federal and states governments are sovereign when acting within the limits of the power granted them by the constitution. The act which creates an offence that a state government or its officials cannot alter, deduct or re-allocate funds standing to the credit of the State Joint Local Government Account is particularly objectionable. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 7 of the act were held to be inconsistent with the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, and therefore, void.  The court held that by the doctrine of federalism adopted by virtue of 2(2) of the 1999 constitution, the autonomy of each government, which presupposes its separate existence and its independence from the Federal government, is essential to federal arrangement. Therefore each government exists not as an appendage of another government but as an autonomous entity in the sense of being able of exercise its own will in the conduct of its affairs, free from direction by another government. It follows that both the general and regional governments must each have under its own independent control, financial resources sufficient to perform its exclusive functions.

  1. A.G ONDO STATE V. A.G FEDERATION.[6]

The corrupt practises and other related offences act No. 5 of 2000 seeks to prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practises. Pursuant to this the ICPC was set up consisting of a judge of a superior court of record in Nigeria and twelve other members. The ICPC had the following duties;

  1. Where reasonable grounds exists for suspecting that any person has conspired to commit a crime, attempted to commit a crime or committed a crime under this act or any other law in Nigeria prohibiting.
  2. To review any practice, systems or procedures of public bodies when such practice, systems or procedures aid or facilitate fraud or corruption.
  3. To instruct any officer, agency or parastatal on how to minimise or eliminate fraud or corruption.
  4. To advise heads on public bodies on ways by which the likelihood bribery, corruption, can be reduced.
  5. To educate members of the public on how to reduce bribery and other corruption.
  6. To get public support.

In resolving, the Supreme Court referred to and construed relevant portions of the 1999 constitution viz- 4, 13, 14(1), 15(5), 174, 318(1).

Section 4 confers legislative on the National Assembly and gives them exclusive rights to make laws regarding matters in the exclusive legislative list and concurrent legislative list.

Section 13 provides that all authorities and persons have a duty to comply with the provision of the constitution.

Section 14 provides for the principles of democracy and social justice.

Section 15(5) provides that the state must abolish all corrupt practises and abuse of power.

It was held per Uwaifo JSC, “It is not open to the Federal Republic to take steps, or enact any legislation deliberately or by necessary consequence that will undermine the legislative powers and authorities of the state if it cannot be ascertained from the constitution that the action of the federal republic was inevitable and in the overall interest of the nation, and was inevitable and in the overall interest of the nation and was constitutional”

On the issue of where power resides to legislate on corruption as between the federal and state government. Going by the definition of ‘state’ and ‘government’ in section 318(1) of the 1999 constitution, the directive under the 1999 constitution in section 15(5) ; “The state shall abolish all corrupts practises and abuse of government” … applies to all three tiers of government… it has been argued also that the word state in section 15(5) means the federal government alone, Uwaifo rejected this argument and stated that the provisions thereof apply to all organs of government and all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers. It was also argued that corruption is not a subject under either the exclusive, or concurrent legislative and therefore being a residual matter, the National has no power to legislate upon it, but Section 15(5) directs the National Assembly to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power. The question however is how the National assembly can exercise such power if not by legislaton. Section 4(2) provides that the National assembly shall have powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation and part thereof, it follows therefore that the National assembly has power to legislate against corruption and abuse of office.

In conclusion, it was held per Wali, JSC; “Reading these provisions of the 1999 constitution together and construed liberally and broadly, it can easily be seen that the National Assembly possesses the power both incidental and implied to promulgate the corrupt practises and other related offences Act, 2000.

 

 

ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE V. THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & ORS.[7]

The Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Authority Decree, No. 88 of 1992 was promulgated in December, 1992. The explanatory note to it states –
“The Decree provides, amongst other things, for a new Urban and Regional Planning enactment for Nigeria with the establishment of Federal, State and Local Government Authorities to oversee the implementation of a more realistic and purposeful planning of the country.”
The Decree consists of five parts as follows:-
Part I – consists of sections 1-26 on “Planning, Preparation and Administration.”
Part II – consists of sections 27 – 63 on “Development Control”
Part III – consists of sections 64 – 74 on “Additional Control in Special Cases.”
Part IV – consists of sections 75 – 78 on “Acquisition of Land and Compensation” and
Part V – consists of sections 79 – 92 on “Improvement Areas Rehabilitation, Renewal and Upgrading” etc.
At the time the Decree was promulgated there was an existing plan for each of the territorial divisions of Lagos State and a comprehensive regional plan for the whole of the State. The State also had its own Town and Country Planning Law No.1 of 1986 (Cap. 188 of the Laws of Lagos State, 1994). There had also been the Building Lines Regulation Law, Cap. 16 of the Laws of Lagos Estate, 1994, and the Land Development (Provisions for Road) Law, Cap. 110 of the Laws of Lagos State, 1994. By a writ of summons taken out by the Government of Lagos State against the Federal Government, the plaintiff claims against the defendants four declarations, an order to nullify or revoke approvals, permits or licences illegally granted by the Federal Government in respect of any building or development in Lagos State; and in addition, a perpetual injunction to restrain the Federal Government its servants, agents and privies from further granting approvals, permits and licences for development of any land etcetera.

The said Decree No. 88 of 1992 provides among other things for a new Urban and Regional Planning enactment and administration for the whole of Nigeria with the establishment of Federal, State and Local Government authorities to oversee the framework of the National Physical Development of Nigeria. Prior to the promulgation of Decree No. 88 and till date the plaintiff has its master plan for each of the Divisions in the State and Comprehensive Regional and Sub-regional plan for the whole State and that all previous and existing Town and Country Planning Laws and regulations for development control in the State have always protected Federal Government interest in the form of non-infringement of Federal Highways set-backs, non development of land under bridges, bridges loop and along Federal Government establishments and institutions. In contravention of the Constitution of Nigeria and of all existing Laws and regulations on Town Planning matters in the State, the 1st defendant, through his agencies, granted planning approvals, permits and licenses to individuals and Federal Government Agencies for building and development in the State. In addition, The plaintiffs stated that contravention and demolition notices were served by them and such notices were met with hostile resistance, threat and embarrassment from officials of the 1st defendant and their allies-developers. On one occasion the plaintiff’s Director of Town Planning services was arrested and detained at their instigation at the Railway Police Command at Ebute-Metta Lagos. All correspondences and meetings held with the officials of the 1st defendant to advice them to desist from granting approval, permit or license for use and development of land in the State without first obtaining the permit of the plaintiff’s Planning authority proved futile.
On the 21st of November, 2000 there was a joint meeting of the officials of FMWH (Federal Ministry of Works and Housing) and their State’s counter-parts presided over by Hon. Commissioner for Environment and Physical Planning (of Lagos State) Arch. I. K. Anibaba to resolve the dispute between the parties over physical planning and development in Lagos State but the meeting ended in a deadlock. The 1st defendant’s agencies in Lagos State threatened and intend, unless restrained by this Honourable Court, to continue to unlawfully exercise power and control over physical planning development matters and activities in Lagos State.

In resolving this conflict, the court made reference to the  1999 Constitution and the relevant case law. The general legislative powers of the National Assembly are contained in section 4 of the Constitution. By the section 4(1), the legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in the National Assembly which consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. By section 4(2), the National Assembly, shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with regard to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part I of the Second Schedule to the Constitution. By section 4(3), the power of the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List, shall, save as otherwise provided in the Constitution, be to the exclusion of the Houses of Assembly of States. The Constitution does not provide for the sharing of legislative powers between the National Assembly and the Houses of Assembly of States in respect of matters in the Exclusive Legislative List. That is one clear essence of federalism.

In his judgment, Ogwuegbu said; “it must be mentioned that both sections 15(5) and 20 are fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy contained in Chapter II of the Constitution. The next issue I should examine is whether section 20 has nexus or relationship with urban and regional planning. Let me reproduce the provisions of the section:
“The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wild life of Nigeria.”Black’s Law Dictionary defines environment as “the totality of physical, economic, cultural, aesthetic and social circumstances and factors which surround and affect the desirability and value of property and which also affect the quality of people’s lives. The surrounding conditions, influences,  or forces which influence or modify
.”

In The case of A.-G., Ondo State v. A.-G., Federation ,the Supreme Court defined State in section 15(5) of the Constitution to include a State Government. This obviously contains the same meaning as section 20. In the light of the above, the town planning and physical development is not a residual matter but a matter on the Concurrent Legislative List which both the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly have legislative powers within the meaning of section 4 of the Constitution. The duty of a Judge in the interpretation of a statute, including the Constitution is to give the literal meaning of the words as used by the lawmaker. Where the words are clear and unambiguous, the Judge has to give the ordinary meaning without more. The Judge has no right to give a convenient interpretation to the words.  In A.-G., Ondo State v. A.-G., Federation already referred to, Uwais, CJN, properly got the point when he said at page 308:
It has been pointed out that the provisions of the Act impinge on the cardinal principle of federalism, namely, the requirement of equality and autonomy of the State Government and non-interference with the functions of State Government. This is true, but as seen above, both the Federal and State Governments share power to legislate in order to abolish corruption and abuse of office. If this is a breach of the principles of federalism, then, I am afraid, it is the Constitution that makes provisions that have facilitated breach of the principles. As far as the aberration is supported by the provisions of the Constitution, I think it cannot rightly be argued that an illegality has occurred by the failure of the Constitution to adhere to the cardinal principles which are at best ideals to follow or guidance for an ideal situation.

Uwaifo JSC further stated upholding Nigeria’s federalism:  But I do not need to repeat that Nigeria operates a federal system of government. Section 2(2) of the 1999 Constitution re-enacts the doctrine of federalism. This ensures the autonomy of each government. None of the governments is subordinate to each other. This is particularly of relevance between the State Governments and the Federal Government, each being, as said by Nwabueze in his book, The Presidential Constitution of Nigeria, page 39-42, an autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will in the conduct of its affairs within the Constitution, free from direction by another government”.

While the some of the reliefs sought by the Lagos state government were granted, others failed. In its verdict, the Supreme Court held that the State Governments had control over the physical planning and developmental control within their territory. The apex court further ruled that all development permits issued by the Federal Government to the buyers of its properties in Lagos from 1999 to that date subsisted, but henceforth, owners of such properties must obtain relevant permits from the State Government. This ruling thus gave the Lagos State Government the authority to impose all compartments of levies on the Federal Government Lessees.

  1. A.G LAGOS STATE V. A.G FEDERATION [8]

 

The basis of the dispute in this case is the directive given by the President that funds from the Federation Account due to Local Government Councils of a State (where new Local Government Areas have been created but no step has yet been taken by the National Assembly to consequentially amend section 3 (6) of the Constitution to accommodate such new Local Government Councils) should be withheld. This directive not only makes reference to the creation of new Local Government Areas but also the holding of elections into the Local Government Councils of the new Local Government Areas as well as the opening of State Joint Local Government Account by the States concerned. It follows therefore that the area of the dispute between the parties is not limited only to payment of funds from the Federation Account to the Local Government Councils through the State Governments. Most of the reliefs sought were all akin to the payment of funds by the defendants from the Federation Account to the new local government councils created by Law No. 5 of 2002.

The court as per Uwais, Kutigi, Iguh, Tobi Edozie, and Akintan asked the question of whether the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was right to direct the Minister of Finance not to release statutory allocations from the Federation Account to the states which created new local government areas or held elections into the new local government councils or failed to maintain a special account called “State Joint Local Government Account” as provided by section 162 subsection (6) of the constitution. The president by virtue of the “Oath of Office,” which he took on assumption of office, he is bound “to protect and defend the constitution”. In addition, the “executive powers of the Federation,” is vested in the President by section 5 sub-section (1) (a) of the constitution and such powers extend to the execution and maintenance of the constitution. This is certainly so, but the question is, does such power extend to the President committing an Illegality? Certainly the Constitution does not and could not have intended that. As was already shown, the creation of new local government areas or councils is supported by the provisions of the constitution. In other words the taking of such a step or act by Lagos State is not unconstitutional as thought by the President. The constitution fully recognises the step taken that there is still one more step or hurdle to be taken or crossed by the National Assembly for the Plaintiff to actualise the creation of the new local government areas. Our attention has not been drawn to any other provision of the constitution which empowers the President to exercise the power of withholding or suspending any payment of allocation from the Federation Account to Local government Council or to state Government on behalf of the Local Government Councils.

Whenever there is any disagreement or dispute between the Federation and the States, the avenue provided by the constitution for the settlement are, according to section 6 of the constitution the superior courts of record created by the Constitution whose judicial powers in the words of subsection (6) (b) thereof –
“shall extend to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any person in Nigeria and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person.”

In conclusion, the court held that
The president has no power vested in him (by executive or administrative action) to suspend or withhold for any period whatsoever the statutory allocation due and payable to Lagos State and the declaration that the intention or proposal of the Federal Government to suspend or withhold for any period whatsoever the statutory allocation due and payable to the Lagos State Government pursuant to the provisions of section 162 (5) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 will, if carried out be unlawful and contrary to the provisions of the said Constitution. The federal government is to pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocation due and payable to the Lagos State Government and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, or any functionaries or agencies of Executive Branch of the Federal Government from doing anything whatsoever to suspend or withhold any monies due and payable to the Lagos State shall be granted.

Moreover, The Plaintiff has the power under the Constitution to create new local government but the local governments so created will not take effect or come into operation until the National Assembly passes an Act to amend section 3 (6) and Part of the First Schedule to the Constitution.

CONCLUSION.

From the above cases, it can be seen that Federalism in Nigeria is at its teething stage. How else can one explain the disgraceful and disturbing act committed by the Federal Government in A.G Lagos State v A.G Federation, whereby the President seized the funds allocable to the State government, or in A.G Federation V. A.G Lagos state where the federal government once more tried to interfere with matters relating to the residual list which is not in its legislative competence. Should such a thing even arise in a country which claims to be practising a federal system of government? The courts in Nigeria are the avenue for resolving such disputes that constitute issues regarding federalism and constitutional law. But, the so called courts are not exactly the friends of Federalism and federal principles. In the case of A.G Lagos state v. A.G Federation and ors, rather than biting their fingers over the loopholes and flaws in our legal system, the courts should have drawn upon their immense material, intellectual and judicial power to do justice in that case. Similarly, in A.G Federation v. A.G Abia state, better known as the resource control case, the Supreme Court denied the coastal states of Nigeria, ownership of their own continental shelves. This judgement by the Supreme Court of Nigeria was indeed wrong and a coastal state is inseparable from its continental shelf and vice versa. The monthly pilgrimage to Abuja for revenue allocation from the proceeds of the Niger Delta’s petroleum and Lagos state generated VAT has created a culture of greed and laziness in some other states. As a result of this evil culture, some other states have decided to leave their resources untapped. In A.G Ondo State V. A.G Federation, Uwais CJN, actually admitted that the awkwardness inherent in our federalism is derived from our own constitution. How heartrending! So therefore, it can be concluded that at best, our Nigeria Federalism is suffering from kwashiorkor and jaundice.

[1] Suit no. sc. 340/2010 on Friday The 19th Day Of July, 2013.

 

[2] (1994) 9 NWLR (pt.366) 1 at 43.

 

[3] (2003) 12 NWLR (Pt.833) 1 at 195-196.

 

[4] (1982) 13 NSCC 1 at 35.

 

[5] (2006) ALL FWLR (Pt. 388) 604.

[6] (2002) 9NWLR (Pt. 763) 264.

[7] (2003) 12NWLR 833 1 at 195-196.

 

[8] (2005) ALL FWLR (Pt. 244) 805.

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