Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal high Court, Abuja, has stopped the federal government from deducting $418million from bank accounts of the 36 state governments.
The judge, in a restraining order against the federal government following an exparte application argued by counsel to the 36 states, Jibrin Otukepa and Ahmed Raji both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, told the government to halt the alleged deduction,
While moving the application, Otukepa who led the legal team of the states told the judge that the states would be completely crippled if the federal government went ahead to deduct the huge amount from the bank accounts.
The senior lawyers told the judge that the federal government predicted the plan to deduct the $418million from the state account monthly to service a debt for contracts allegedly executed for the states.
However, Otukepa said the 36 states attorneys general had scrutinised the purported contract and judgment and found that the states were not parties to court action that resulted in the judgment debt.
He further submitted that the purported contract claimed to have been executed for the states were not known to any of the 36 state governments and was therefore a phony contract.
After listening to the arguments of the 36 states, Justice Ekwo ordered the federal government not to go ahead to make any deduction from the states’ accounts in respect of the purported court judgment until all issues relating to it were fully determined.
Defendants in the suit are the attorney general of the federation, finance minister, accountant general of the federation and all banks in Nigera among others. The judge fixed the case for November 30th.