Governments weigh legal options against consultants

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The governors of the federation’s 36 states have pledged to pursue legal avenues to ensure that the Paris Club’s $418 million reimbursement does not go to the consultants.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal revealed this after a teleconference meeting of the forum on Tuesday evening.

The governors and the federation’s attorney general (AGF) and justice minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), disagreed over the Paris Club’s controversial $418 million reimbursement, with the governors accusing the AGF of acting based on selfish interests.

But Malami remained adamant, saying the governors had no reason to reject the proposed $418 million deduction, adding that the consultants’ claims are justified, even though the governors said all claims made by AGF were lies and that his actions are fraudulent. .

Stating that the Governors were ready to explore the legal option, Governor Tambuwal said: “Regarding the Paris Club reimbursement of $418 million and the promissory notes issued to consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of debt management (DMO).

“The forum remains committed to exploring all legal avenues available to it to ensure that state-owned resources are not unjustly or illegally paid to the few under the guise of consultants.”

The NGF also said following his plea that the proposed privatization of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) by the federal government should be stopped, he instructed his lawyers to go to the Federal High Court which has currently issued an order restraining all parties in the lawsuit from taking any step or action that will render or nullify the outcome of the motion for notice of application for an interlocutory injunction.

He said: “The effect of the Court’s order is that the defendants cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) before the hearing and decision on the motion for notice of interlocutory injunction.”

Tambuwal added this follow-up to discussions among sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded 2nd African Sub-Sovereign Governments Network (AfSNET) conference, which the forum has agreed to continue through its membership of the Africa Regions Forum. Africa (FORAF).

“And its partnership with the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM), support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration among 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 said: “And together with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD

“The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) and the World Bank are preparing emergency response to mitigate the impact of the flood crisis, in particular to maintain food security .

“Members were also briefed by World Bank Team Leader (TTL), Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa on the desired restructuring of Nigeria’s $750 million COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Program (CARES ) to respond to the 2022 Nigeria Flood Response following discussions with States and the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad Hoc Flood Committee.

“The restructuring will allow states to reallocate program funds for immediate response to livelihoods, assets and basic services.

As the flood recedes, Tambuwal said states through the program will be able to support household business stimulus grants, short-term relocation of displaced households, labor-intensive opportunities for unskilled labor, rehabilitation of basic service infrastructure, recovery of damaged agricultural infrastructure, rehabilitation of destroyed wet markets, among others.

Tambuwal also disclosed that Home Minister Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola briefed the forum on the congestion of detention centers across the country and the digitalization of immigration processes.

He continued, “Members welcomed the Minister’s report and pledged to work with law enforcement, the judiciary and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the recommendations made with respect to concerns the jurisdiction of each State.

“NGF Senior Health Adviser Dr Ahmad Abdulwahab updated the Forum on the progress made on polio/routine vaccination, highlighting that there has been an 85% reduction in the number of circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses. (cVDPV) in 2022 from 1,028 cases recorded in 2021.

“Members also received an update on the progress of the implementation 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 the strengthening of PHC, including the judicious use and timely release of matching funds, where appropriate.”

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