By Ekemini Simon
The Chief Registrar of the Sharia Court of Appeal has been included among members of State Account Allocation Committee (SAAC) who will manage Akwa Ibom State Legislative Funds.
The provision is contained in Akwa Ibom State Legislative Funds Management
bill sponsored by the Leader of the House and Member Oruk Anam State Constituency, Rt Hon Udo Akpan. When assented into law, the Akwa Ibom State Legislative Funds Management law will give Akwa Ibom State Legislature financial autonomy.
Section 13 (1) of the Akwa Ibom State Legislative Funds Management bill provides members of State Account Allocation Committee (SAAC) to comprise of: Commissioner (s) in charge of Finance, budget and planning, Accountant General for the State, two members of the State House of Assembly nominated by the Speaker, Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Secretary of the State House of Assembly, Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Chief Registrar of the Customary Court of Appeal, Chief Registrar of the Sharia Court of Appeal and Secretary of the State Judicial Service Commission.
However, in their respective presentation during public hearing of the bill held on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Sunny James and the State Secretary of Civil Liberties Organization, Christopher Ekpo called on the State Assembly to pull off the Chief Registrar of Sharia court from the State Account Allocation Committee as Akwa Ibom State does not operate Sharia law.
In response, the lead sponsor of the bill and representative of the Speaker on the occasion, Rt Hon Udo Akpan said their concerns have been noted.
Meanwhile, at the Public Hearing, the Commissioner for Finance and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice had declined giving contributions to the bill.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Eme-Ete Imuk who represented the Commissioner for Finance, Linus Nkan noted that she was instructed by the Commissioner to inform the committee that the Commissioner will after the Public hearing interface with the Committee.
Also, the representative of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mfon Edemekong said ” My instructions was to come here, sit, note and report back.”
It could be recalled that the executive had kicked against financial autonomy of the State legislature.