The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has disagreed with Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on the payment of consultants for the Paris Club refund, calling such payments illegal.
The NGF revealed this in a statement by its chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, to State House correspondents on Wednesday after its meeting at State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, according to NAN.
This comes after Malami told newsmen that the governors’ forum agreed on the engagement of consultants to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club.
What the NGF is saying
The NGF stated that it extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the Attorney-General and the Minister of Finance to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the Supreme Court to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
- “This is to effect the illegal payment of the sum of 418 million dollars to contractors who allegedly executed consultancies in respect to the Paris Club refund to the state and local governments.
- “The forum set up a committee comprising the chairman, the Governor of Ekiti State, the Vice Chairman, the Governor of Ondo State, the Governor of Plateau, the Governor of Nasarawa, the Governor of Ebonyi to interface with the committee set up by the president to review the matter.
- “But the position of the governors’ forum is clear and unequivocal; although this matter is sub-judicial and we are very reluctant to get in the way of matter that is still being pursued in the court.
- “We are constrained by the manner in which the attorney-general has been going around various media houses purporting to create the impression that this is a liability to which the governors have committed themselves to and agreed to even though he is very much aware that that is not the case,” The Forum stated.
It also insisted that states would not give up on insisting that the purported claims were fraudulent and would not stand as far as governors were concerned.
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- “And we will take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that the purported consultancies are fully litigated upon by the highest court in the land.
- “If the court then finds governors, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and states liable, then we cross that bridge when we get there.
The Forum added that this is a matter that governors feel very strongly about and believe that the attorney-general is not acting in public interest.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported earlier this year that the Attorney’s General of the 36 states of the Federation met in Lagos to discuss several critical legal issues bordering on the $418 million Paris Club refund. This occurred after the state governments had opposed plans by the federal government to deduct $418 million as Paris Club refunds from the accounts of states and local governments for the payment to consultants which led to a legal tussle.
- Last week, Malami stated that the noise that is now being generated which is arising from the Governors Forum is not only unjustified but indeed, a clear case of absence of defense. Malami claimed that the Governor’s forum comprising of all the governors sat down (and) commonly agreed on the engagement of consultants to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club.