Issues discussed include: Implementation of Financial Autonomy for State Judiciary, Implementation of Financial Autonomy for State House of Assembly among other things.

Also, proposals for the Amendment of the Constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as Amended) and harmonization of Laws of South West States.

1. Introduction

The Meeting of the South West Attorneys-General held in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State on 16th July 2021. The meeting had in attendance the following Honourable Attorneys- General & Commissioners for Justice:

• Olawale Fapohunda, Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State (Host).

• Akingbolahan Adeniran, Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Ogun State.

• Oluwafemi Akande, Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Osun State.

• Sir Charles Titiloye, Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Ondo State.

• Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State (who joined virtually)

Also in attendance were:

• Mrs. Folabimpe Segun-Olakojo, Acting Solicitor-General & Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Oyo State (who represented the Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State

• Saheed Adebisi Quadri, Director, Ministry of Justice, Lagos State (who sat in the meeting for the Honourable Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State)

Directors and State Counsel from the Ministries of Justice in all the Six States of the South West States of Nigeria observed the meeting.

2. Meeting Agenda

The meeting deliberated on five agenda items as follows:

• Implementation of Financial Autonomy for the Judiciaries in South West States of Nigeria

• Implementation of Financial Autonomy for the Legislatures in South West States of Nigeria.

• Proposals for the amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

• Harmonization of Laws & Policies of South West States of Nigeria.

3. Decisions & Resolutions

a) Implementation of Financial Autonomy for the State Judiciary

The South West Attorneys- General:

Reaffirm the commitment of their States to financial autonomy for the Judiciary.

Commend the South West Governors Forum for its proactive steps in the resolution of the issue of financial autonomy for the judiciaries in the South West States of Nigeria and the adoption of a template for implementation.

Welcomes the passage of the Judicial (Funds Management) Bill, 2021 by the Ondo and Ogun States Houses of Assembly.

Note that the Ministries of Justice of Ekiti, Lagos Osun and Oyo States have proposed Judicial (Funds Management) Bills for the consideration of States Houses of Assembly in those States.

Urge all South West States to ensure the timely enactment into Law of their Judicial (Funds Management) Bills.

Resolve to exchange States Judicial (Funds Management) Bills to ensure uniformity of the South West States on the implementation of judicial financial autonomy.

b) Implementation of Financial Autonomy for the State Legislature

The South West Attorneys- General:

Reaffirm the commitment of their States to financial autonomy for State Legislatures.

Commend the South West Governors Forum for its proactive steps in the resolution of the issue of financial autonomy for the legislatures in the South West States of Nigeria and the adoption of a template for implementation.

Welcomes the passage of the State Legislative (Funds Management) Bill, 2021 by the Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun States Houses of Assembly.

Note that the Ministries of Justice of Lagos, Osun and Oyo States have proposed State Legislative (Funds Management) Bills for the consideration of States Houses of Assembly in those States.

Urge all South West States to ensure the timely enactment into Law of their State Legislative (Funds Management) Bills.

Resolve to exchange States Legislative (Funds Management) Bills to ensure uniformity of the South West on the implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislatures.

c) Proposals for the amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)

The South West Attorneys- General:

Note the ongoing constitutional amendment process in the National Assembly.

Note that all the six south west states participated actively in the National Assembly south west zone public consultation on the amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

Commend the South West Governors’ Forum for the progress made by South West States in reaching consensus on the proposals sent to the National Assembly Committees for the review of the Constitution.

Reaffirm the commitment of South West States of Nigeria to key areas of Constitutional Reform including:

• Gender Equity and increased participation of women in public life.

• Fiscal Federalism and the need for a holistic review of the Exclusive legislative list in the 1999 Constitution with emphasis on the need to devolve more legislative items to States.

• Establishment of State Police Service to serve as a territorial police force to complement the Nigeria Police in law enforcement in each of the South West States.

Recall that the South West Governors’ Forum set up a joint Committee of South West members of the National Assembly and South West Attorneys General (joint committee) to further articulate the position of South West States and ensure that these are included in the final outcome of the Constitutional review process.

Resolve to actively participate in the deliberations of the Joint committee until its final report is presented to the National Assembly.

d) Harmonization of Laws & Policies of South West States of Nigeria

The South West Attorneys- General:

Reaffirm that the South West Attorneys General meeting is the unique, essential and indispensable forum for consultations and joint action on all matters related to law reform and harmonisation of laws in South West States of Nigeria.

Pledge to strengthen and reinforce consultations on matters relating to harmonization of laws in the South West States of Nigeria

Further agree to work together to ensure that Judgments from High Courts of South West States are collated and published.

Resolve to immediately constitute a working Committee to work on the harmonization of Laws and judgments of the high courts of South West States of Nigeria.

Resolve to frequently exchange Laws and policies that impact on socio-economic and political growth of the South West States.

4. Gratitude

The South West Attorneys-General expressed their deep appreciation for the generous hospitality extended to the South West Attorneys- General and their delegations by the Government and people of Ekiti State.

A special word of thanks to all those who made it possible for the South West Attorneys- General to have a safe and productive meeting despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Next Steps/ Meeting

The South West Attorneys- General resolved to meet with the Governor, Ondo State and Chairman South West Governors Forum to discuss key outcomes of the meeting for the purpose of achieving speedy implementation.

The next meeting of the South West Attorneys-General will be held in Lagos State at a date to be communicated later.

Signed:

Olawale Fapohunda,
Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State.

(For and on behalf of South West Attorneys-General)

16 July 2021