- Nigerian governors have failed in their bid to stop the federal government from deducting $418 million from the Federation Account
- The governors went to court to challenge the FG's plan to deduct the money to repay the debt owed consults by states and local governments over the Paris Club refunds
- However, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja struck out the suit for lacking in merit
FCT, Abuja - A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by the 36 states against the decision by the federal government over the planned deduction of $418 million from the Federation Account.
In the suit, the states are challenging the federal government's plan to deduct the money to settle debts owed consultants engaged by the states and local governments in relation to the Paris Club refunds.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Friday, March 25, upheld the objection by some of the defendants, The Nation reported.
Legit.ng gathers that the presiding judge held that the states’ Attorneys General who filed the suit on behalf of the governors lacked the locus standi (the right to initiate an action before a court) to file the suit.
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Debt being challenged have to do with governors - Justice Ekwo
Speaking further, Justice Ekwo noted that since the debt being challenged arose from the actions of the governors, who are members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the AGs, who are their appointees, cannot sue to challenge the actions of their appointors.
According to the judge, the office of the Attorney-General of a state was created under Section 195 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and the AG of a state is appointed by a governor, which makes the AG an appointee who is under the control of a governor.
Judge: No evidence to show 36 governors consent to filing suit
Also reporting the development, Channels TV stated that the presiding judge held that there was no express evidence to show that the governors of the 36 states consented to the filing of the suit.
Justice Ekwo held that the contention of the plaintiffs that it was not a party to the judgment debt did not hold water because the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the Association of Local Governments were parties in the suit.
The court further held that the plaintiffs had acknowledged the existence of judgment debt, insisting that the filing of the suit was a ploy to challenge the judgement debt already given in favour of the consultants.
Justice Ekwo noted that the action of the plaintiff amounted to an abuse of court process and subsequently dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
Paris Club fund: Governors attack Malami over $418m consultants’ fees
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, was accused of having a personal interest in the controversial $418 million consultants fees with respect to the Paris Club Fund.
A statement by the head of media and public affairs for the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, said the position of the AGF on the matter where he declared open support for the consultants against the states “raises questions of propriety and the spirit of justice.”
Bello-Barkindo said the payment which was under contention was made in favour of private contractors rather than states or local government for which Malami ought to be representing.