A political party, Hope Democratic Party (HDP) has threatened to invoke a contempt of court charge against the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, if he goes ahead to sign the 2017 national budget into law.
The party maintained that the budget was a subject of litigation between it and the National Assembly over alleged padding in the name of constituency projects and warned that signing it will render the suit nugatory.
In a strongly worded press statement released in Abuja yesterday, HDP said that the law suit with No. FHC/ABJ/CS/617/2016 has already been slated for hearing on June 21 at a federal high court in Abuja.
The press statement titled “Notice of Consequence of Disobedience, undermining and Disrespect of the Pending suit in the court of law over unconstitutional insertion of constituency projects by the NASS” was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Usman Sani and a legal practitioner Mr. Emmanuel Iji.
The statement reads in part: “In line with our patriotic and public spirited party activities, we draw the attention of Nigerians and appropriate authorities of the attempt and danger inherent in the recently passed 2017 budget by the National Assembly and their calculated attempts to over reach the pendency of the above stated case, slated for hearing on the 21/06/2017 by the court and in which they and other parties including the AGF are fully represented over issues of the unconstitutionality or budget padding with purported constituency projects not listed for legislation under the exclusive Legislative list by the 1999 constitution as amended.
“It is our believe that the principles of the rule of law which guides all actions of all institutions and persons in our practice of constitutional democracy demands that parties who have submitted themselves before a court of law and of competent jurisdiction will allow the due determination of the issues as raised before the court so as not to interfere and undermine the authorities of the courts to fully function and determine the case before it.
“We wish to further state that the recent passing of law of the 2017 appropriation bill, padding and inserting constituency projects exceeding the executive estimated expenditure and income for the year, is an affront to President Muhammadu Buhari Government who have publicly vowed not to succumb or sign any padded budget forwarded by the National Assembly.
“We believe that the Acting President is fully aware of the consequences of the breach of the law following any attempt to undermine the authority of the court to freely adjudicate on matters before it and the need to decline or tarry in signing such questionable, dubious and unconstitutional acts of the National Assembly.
“We therefore advice caution and restrain to allow the rule of law prevail” the statement further states.