Governors of the 36 states of the federation have vowed to pursue legal channels to ensure the $418million Paris Club refund is not paid to consultants.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, disclosed this after a teleconference meeting of the forum on Tuesday night.
The governors and the attorney general of the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had been at loggerheads over the controversial $418 million Paris Club refund, with the governors accusing the AGF of acting based on selfish interest.
But Malami has remained adamant, saying the governors have no basis to reject the proposed deduction of $418 million, adding that the consultants’ claims are justified, even as the governors said all the claims made by the AGF were lies and that his actions are fraudulent.
Stating the readiness of the governors to explore legal option, Governor Tambuwal said, “Regarding the $418 Million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to Consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“The forum remains resolute in exploring all legal channels available to it in ensuring that resources belonging to States are not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancies.”
The NGF also said following its advocacy that the proposed privatisation of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the federal government should be stopped, it has instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court which at present has issued an order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for interlocutory injunction nugatory.
He said, “The effect of the Order of the Court is that Respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”
Tambuwal added that sequel to discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded 2nd African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNET) conference, the forum agreed to pursue through its membership on the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) .
“And its partnership with the African Export–Import (AFREXIM) Bank, support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between sub-sovereign governments around intra-African trade, investment, industrialization, and development.”
The NGF chairman also said the forum is monitoring the flood situation across the country and working with the federal government through the National Economic Council (NEC).
He stated: “And in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD
“National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) and the World Bank to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the flood crisis especially to sustain Food Security.
“Members were also briefed by the World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL), Professor Foluso Okunmadewa on the desired restructuring of the $750 million Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Program (CARES) programme to respond to Nigeria 2022 Flood Response following discussions with States and the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad hoc Committee on Flooding.
“The restructuring will allow States reallocate funding from the programme for immediate response for livelihoods, assets and basic services.
As the flood recedes, Tambuwal said the states through the programme will be able to support the household enterprise recovery grants, short-term transfer of households displaced, labor intensive opportunities for unskilled labor, rehabilitation of basic services infrastructure, recovery of damaged agricultural infrastructure, rehabilitation of destroyed wet markets, amongst others.
Tambuwal also disclosed that the minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, briefed the forum on the congestion of the custodial centers across the country and the digitalisation of immigration processes.
He continued: “Members welcomed the report of the Minister and committed to working with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the recommendations put forward as they relate to individual State jurisdiction.
“The NGF Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab briefed the Forum on the progress with Polio/Routine Immunisation highlighting that there has been an 85% reduction in the number of Circulating Vaccine-Derived PolioVirus (cVDPV) in 2022 from 1,028 cases recorded in 2021.
“Members were also provided an update on the implementation progress of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP) and the recently launched Primary Health Care (PHC) Leadership Challenge.
“The Forum reiterated its commitment to the Seattle Commitments and PHC strengthening including the judicious use and timely release of counterpart funds where required.”