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$418m Paris Club Deduction: Court declines order stopping FG

By Olalekan Awojodu
Abuja

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Monday refused to grant an Injunctive order against the federal government over the bid to deduct $418 million dollars from the allocations of the 36 states government to fund their contractual obligations in the Paris club refund.

Ruling on the matter on Monday, the presiding Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo declined to grant the injunctive order request made by the 36 state governors.

The governors had asked the court to stop the federal government from proceeding further with the deductions from their money from the federation account.

The governors who prayed through their counsel, Sunday Ibrahim Ameh subsequently moved a motion at proceeding, asking the court to grant an Injunctive order against the federal government so as not to proceed with deduction of their 418 million dollars.

They argued that they were not parties to a legal action which resulted in a judgment that ordered the federal government to deduct the 418 million dollars from the state government account to settle the debt obligations to various contractors who assisted the states in the Paris club refund project.

Defendants in the matters comprising contractors and banks had objected to the request by the state governors for the injunctive order against the federal government on the ground that a federal high court had earlier issues order that federal government should deduct the money.

The defendants argued that based on the earlier judgement of court, the former Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdulazeez Yari issued a promissory note on behalf of the governor’s to the effect that the 418 million dollars be deducted from their money from the federation account.

Represented by various lawyers, they also challenged the jurisdiction of the court in the instant case adding that since the earlier judgement was delivered by the same court, more than 4 years ago, the governors have not deemed it fit to file appeal against the judgment.

They therefore prayed Justice Ekwo not to sit as an appeal court in a matter that had earlier been decided by his court .

After taking submissions from counsel, justice Ekwo in a ruling refused to grant the injunctive order sought.

“Where the jurisdiction of a court in a challenged, the proper law is for the issue of jurisdiction to be entertained first and resolved before proceeding to do anything in a matter before it,” the Judge held.

Next hearing on the matter has been fixed for Dec 21 where all applications challenging the courts jurisdiction would be heard, along with the substantive matter.

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