Supreme Court Reserves Judgment in Appeal Challenging Constitutionality of Pension Law of Delta State Governor

Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun v. Governor of Delta State & Anor. Appeal No. SC/961/2019.

Femi Falana, SAN files amicus brief.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Nigeria adjourned for judgment the suit filed by a human right activist and a former National Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Olukunle Edun who is challenging the judgments of the lower courts refusing to hear on the merit the suit he filed challenging the constitutionality of some of the provisions of the Pension Law of Governors of Delta State, which was passed by the State House of Assembly awarding bogus entitlements and benefits to former Governors and Deputy Governors of the State, including residential buildings, several vehicles to be renewed every 4 years, personal staff, security aides, state sponsored foreign vacations, all at the expense of the State but which were not product of assessment by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission as required by law. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff lacked the locus standing to challenge the unconstitutional provisions and also refused to determine the merit of the case.

At the hearing of the appeal yesterday by the Supreme Court, foremost human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN sought leave of the Supreme Court to appear as an amicus curia and accordingly filed an amicus brief in the appeal. However, the appeal was heard only on the basis of the briefs filed by parties in the appeal.

From arguments in the briefs filed by the parties and Mr. Falana, the decision of the apex court on the vexed issue of locus standi in public interest litigation will be a watershed as many of the courts still refuse to entertain public interest cases filed by public-spirited persons who challenge obvious impunity and unconstitutional actions of the various governments and their officials. Judgment has been reserved by the Supreme Court for the 12th day of July, 2024.

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