Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and 36 state governors to ensure people’s rights to hold rallies.
In a statement, the group wants the President and governors to “publicly instruct the Nigeria police and state security outfits to respect, protect, and facilitate the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, assembly, association, and equal participation during the election campaigns, regardless of their party affiliation.”
SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, who signed the statement on Sunday, warned against the police being used by state governors to target supporters of opposition parties and those holding differing political views.
He cited reports, raising concerns about the lack of a level playing field.
According to the group, police operatives in Ebonyi State recently dispersed hundreds of supporters of the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi who gathered for a rally in Abakaliki, alleging that Obi has also condemned the attack and intimidation of the party’s supporters.
“Facilitating the rights of supporters of political parties to hold rallies and processions on an equal basis would promote public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process,” the statement read.
“The right to participate meaningfully and equally in the political and electoral processes including to hold rallies, processions or meetings during the campaigns is part and parcel of any system of representative government.
“We would continue to monitor how authorities at all levels are respecting, protecting, and facilitating these fundamental rights ahead of the 2023 elections. We would take all appropriate legal actions to ensure accountability for violations of these rights.
“Respecting, protecting, and facilitating the equal enjoyment of the rights of everyone to speak, assemble, hold rallies, processions or meetings would ensure that the individual citizen can effectively participate in and contribute to the country’s democracy.
“These rights cannot be denied or abridged on account of differing political views or affiliations. Authorities must promptly, thoroughly, independently, impartially, and effectively investigate the reports of any violations of these rights, and bring suspected perpetrators including non-state actors, to justice. The victims must be provided access to justice and effective remedies.
“Candidates and political parties and their supporters should be allowed to hold rallies, processions or meetings on an equal basis, and free of intimidation, harassment or threat of attack.
“Section 14(2)(c) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) provides that ‘the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
“Section 91(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that the Commissioner of Police of each State ‘shall provide adequate security for the proper and peaceful conduct of political rallies and processions in their respective jurisdictions.”
In attendance are Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Abubakar Bello, Inuwa Yahaya, Abdullahi Sule and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr Eric Igwe.
The reason for the meeting cannot be ascertained as of the time of this report as the governors did not brief the press.
But Channels Television gathered that the meeting lasted about 30 minutes, after which the governor later met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has accused the lead counsel in the Paris Club refund case, Ned Nwoko, of telling what it described as “half-truths” following the latter’s claim that the governors demanded and received $100 million to prosecute elections in some states.
A statement by the NGF on Sunday said Ned’s claim in Saturday’s press briefing is an attempt to hide the truth.
“In his desperation to justify his claim, NED peddled untruths that his team was a member of the Federal Government Committee constituted to reconcile figures under the Paris Club refunds to the States and Local Governments. That is patently false,” the NGF’s Director, Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, said in the statement.
“The report of that committee dated May 2007 shows that only the FMF, OAGF, CBN, DMO, and RMFC (secretariat) were members. Private persons who were not privy could not have been included in a committee that was meant to examine purely public financial records. It was this Committee that did all the work now claimed by NED and the other consultants.”
It also said “the desperate, spurious and futile advocacy mounted and coordinated by the AGF on behalf of the so-called Paris Club Consultants to justify the plundering of the humongous sum of USD418.9m from the public treasury of the States and Local Governments continued on Saturday 20th August 2022, when Ned Nwoko, in a press statement, attempted to blur and obfuscate the real facts and legal issues in controversy by dishing out blatant lies and half-truths.
“The facts are and will always remain: whether the claims of the consultants are lawful and justified under our Constitution and whether any Judgment which is a subject of a pending appeal can be enforced or executed as the consultants now attempt to do? If both questions are answered in the negative, it does not matter if the contracts leading to the claims were entered into by any public official, past or present.”
The NGF noted that it will not waste time defending “unsubstantiated claims”, maintaining that its “role in the whole of this Paris Club refund debacle to consultants is to ensure that Nigeria citizens are not unlawfully deprived of resources meant for their development”.
“NGF will not, therefore, waste its valuable time to defend unsubstantiated allegations against individuals or persons who are in a position to defend themselves. If NED is sure of his facts, he is at liberty to approach the necessary authorities to bring to justice any person or persons and all conspirators (including himself) who were allegedly involved in misappropriating public resources for campaign financing,” the statement further read.
“The NGF hereby states unequivocally that it has not at any time been involved in or been in receipt of USD$100m or any other funds from NED Nwoko to finance elections in any State.”
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has criticized the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, describing his recent claims and actions as fraudulent and self-serving over the $418m Paris Club refund.
The Chairman of the group, Kayode Fayemi, told the media after a meeting on Wednesday that the Forum would take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that the purported consultancies are fully litigated by the Supreme Court.
The Minister of Justice had days ago stated that the Governors had no basis to reject the proposed deductions of 418 million dollars from the Paris Club refund because they had been indemnified and conceded that such payments be made to the consultants.
The NGF Chairman insisted that there is no liability by the states and only the courts can determine if the NGF states are indeed liable. Mister Malami, according to him, is acting in his personal and public interest.
In a communique at the end of the meeting, it added: “The Forum extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Finance (HMF) to circumvent the law and a recent judgement of the Supreme Court to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to effect payment of the sum of US$418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultant in respect to the Paris Club refunds to the state and local governments.
“A committee was set up comprising the Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, and Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State to interface with the committee set up by Mr. President to review the matter.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Thursday, said that state governors have no basis for complaining about Paris Club refund deductions paid to consultants they hired.
He made the comment at a ministerial media briefing at the State House in Abuja.
Malami also explained that the governors took steps to pay the consultants and later decided to stop payment while asking for an out-of-court settlement when the matter was dragged to court.
This, according to him, resulted in a request to President Muhammadu Buhari to make the payment, which was then passed on to the Office of the AGF for a legal opinion.
“The Governor’s forum comprising of all the governors sat down commonly agreed on the engagement of a consultant to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club. So, it was the governor’s forum under the federal government in the first place that engaged the consultant,” he said.
“When eventually, successes were recorded associated with the refund, associated with Paris Club, the governors collectively and individually presented a request to the federal government for the fund.
“And among the components of the claim presented for the consideration of the federal government was a component related to the payment of these consultants that are now constituting the subject of contention. So the implication of that is that the governors in their own right recognized the consultant, recognized their claim and presented a such claim to the federal government.
“When the claims were eventually processed and paid to the governor’s forum. They indeed on their own, without the intervention of the federal government took steps to make part payments to the consultants, acknowledging their liability over the same.
“When eventually they made such payments at a point they took a decision to stop the payment. The consultants instituted an action in court against the governors’ forum. And what happened in court? They submitted to consent judgment.
“They asked and urged the Court to allow them to settle out of court. The court granted them an opportunity to settle. They commit terms of settlement in writing, they signed the terms of the settlement, agreeing and conceding that such payments be made to the consultant.”
Reeling other achievements, the Minister also disclosed that the ministry has secured over 1,000 convictions on terrorism, and recovered over 6,324,627.66 pounds of stolen monies from various jurisdictions globally from March 2021 to May 2022.
According to him, the recovered foreign loots have since been deployed towards the execution of major infrastructure projects and used to massively reduce poverty across the country.
Governors of the 36 states of the Federation have congratulated the Governor-elect of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, on his recent victory at the poll.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, in a letter dated July 18, declared the support of the governors for the incoming member of the forum.
According to him, the NGF looks forward to working with Adeleke and is committed to providing him with outstanding services, in line with global best practices.
The governors wished the governor-elect God’s guidance, strength, direction, and wisdom to deliver on his mandate to the people of Osun State.
Read the full text of the letter below:
18th July 2022
Senator Ademola Adeleke,
Governor-elect, c\o Adeleke Estate, Ede,
Osun State. Dear Governor-elect,
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) wishes to congratulate the Osun State Governor-elect, His Excellency, Senator Ademola Adeleke, on your victory at the just concluded election.
The NGF is a non-partisan platform of all 36 democratically elected State Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria irrespective of political affiliations.
At the Forum, all governors are served equally and respectfully. The NGF wishes you success as you take up the challenges that await you in your exalted office.
The Forum Secretariat assures Your Excellency of its full support as you embark on this new journey towards elevating your state to a higher level.
We look forward to working with you and assure you of our commitment to provide outstanding services in line with global best practices and hope that you will in turn trust the Forum’s machinery to at all times provide you professional technical and administrative support.
We wish you God’s guidance, strength, direction and the wisdom to deliver on your mandate to your people. Your Excellency, once again, congratulations and welcome to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Following the deadly attack on St Francis Catholic Church Owo, South-West governors have convened a meeting, condemning the incident.
Gunmen had stormed the church on June 5, killing over 40 people while injuring several others. The attack has since been condemned by most Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari and other state governors who asked security operatives to unmask the killers.
In a statement obtained by Channels Television on Sunday, the regional governors declared a three-day mourning.
They also condemned in strong terms what they described as a terrorist attack, vowing to protect the people under their domain.
The recent attack, they said, “compels immediate intervention in the whole of the South West to nip the insidious phenomenon of insurgency in the bud.”
“The Governors condemn, in very strong terms, the horrendous crime perpetrated by Terrorist against the people and residents of Owo, Ondo State, and, by extension, the peace-loving people of the South West. The Governors sympathise with the victims of the mindless attack in Owo,” the statement partly read.
“The Governors agreed to declare a 3-day mourning period in memory of the victims of the 5th June, 2022 terror attack on St Francis Catholic, Owaluwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, starting from Monday, 13th June, to Wednesday, 15th, June, 2022 to symbolise our collective loss across all South Western States in Nigeria.
“The meeting agreed that all the Governors should direct the flying of Flags at Half Mast in all public buildings, facilitates and official residences across all the States in the South West in honour of the victims of the Owo terror attack.
“The Governors noted, with great discomfiture, the increasing agitations about spaces taken over by unidentified and unknown migrants in all South West States. The meeting, therefore, recommends an increase in the scope of surveillance of the activities of these undocumented settlers by relevant security agencies in all the States.
“The Governors, as Chief Security Officers, resolved to continue to assist the security agencies in the areas of crisis management and intelligence gathering at ALL times.
“The Governors reviewed reports from various States on the factors militating against peace and security in the region. They expressed grave concern on the influx of Okada riders into all parts of the South West, especially the State capitals. The meeting further resolved that efforts be geared toward identity management of Okada riders and stringent regulation put in place for their operation.
“Consequently, the Forum decided it was time to reconvene the South West Security Committee to look critically into this creeping menace before it blossoms into another intractable social problem. The Committee will be expected to submit its findings on the desirability of Okada operations in the region. It is also expected to submit a multi-level template to combat the threat of insurgency and terrorism in the region.
“The Forum agreed to convene forthwith a physical meeting of the South West Governors to deliberate on the security challenges confronting the region.”
President Muhammadu Buhari is hosting stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a dinner at the State House, hours before the commencement of the party’s special convention.
The event is being attended by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the leadership of the National Assembly including the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as well as other prominent members of the party.
It is said to be a follow-up to the meeting he had with the national leadership and presidential aspirants of the party on Saturday night.
The President is expected to use the occasion to underscore his desire to achieve a consensus candidate for the party’s presidential ticket before the convention.
Meanwhile, members of the central working committee of the APC are meeting at the Imo state governor’s lodge in Abuja.
The meeting is for the committee to conclude arrangements for the party’s presidential primaries.
Some governors, federal lawmakers, and other party members are attending the meeting.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, presidential aspirants from the South-West and key stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have met in Abuja.
A source who pleaded anonymity confirmed the meeting the Channels Television via the telephone on Sunday.
He said the meeting which held on Saturday night entered the early hours of Sunday morning.
Although the details of the meeting could not be gotten as of the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the aspirants discussed how the region could field a candidate that will serve as a common front for the party.
Those who attended the meeting include the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; APC chieftain, Bola Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday disclosed his criteria for the ideal presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 elections.
The President made the disclosure while meeting with APC Governors in Abuja.
“Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections,” President Buhari said, as quoted in a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina.
The APC commenced the screening of its presidential candidates on Monday.
It is expected to hold a convention between June 6 and 8 where the candidate is to emerge from about 23 aspirants.
During Tuesday’s meeting with the Governors, the President charged them to ensure that the party picks a presidential candidate that reflects the APC’s values and virtues.
“The processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes,” he said.
“Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation.
“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.
“Such leadership is required so that the party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the center, hold the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gain additional number of states.
“In a few days, the party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.”
The President also appealed to all the Governors “to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community”
He assured that the consultation process will continue, to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention, stressing that it would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control, “and that our party emerges stronger.”
Speaking on behalf of the States’ helmsmen, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum said the party must build on successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, “ and come up with a candidate who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr President has shown.”
“We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention,” he said.
Governors across the country have congratulated the people in their respective states, especially the Muslims on the occasion of the Eid-El-Fitr which signals the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
As Muslim faithful in Nigeria join their counterparts around the world in celebration, this year’s Eid-El-Fitr coincides with the commemoration of the annual international Workers’ Day.
The people of were among the first to be greeted by their governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, who congratulated them on the successful completion of the fast.
“May Almighty Allah make Eid a great occasion for interaction, harmony, tolerance, and happiness for all,” he was quoted in a statement by his press secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou.
Governor Fintiri who described peace as an essential ingredient to the development of any country, urged the people to keep praying and working for the peace and unity of the country and Adamawa State.
Glad that the people would be celebrating without the restrictions of COVID-19 this year, he admonished Nigerians to focus on the things that bind them together and eschew issues capable of dividing the country, especially going into a political year.
The governor also challenged Nigerians to see the nation’s diversity beyond artificial divisions such as ethnic and religious differences and abide strictly by the teachings of the Holy Quaran as propagated by the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
“Sacrifices you have all made during the holy month of Ramadan should draw everyone closer to the Almighty Allah,” he said.
“I enjoin all our Muslim brothers and sisters to draw enduring lessons from the holy month of Ramadan, which include personal sacrifices and self-denial. I call on you to emulate the good virtues and teachings of Prophet Mohammed.”
According to Governor Fintiri, Adamawa is known for peace and it is important for citizens and residents of the state to ensure the hard-earned peace is sustained.
“On behalf of my family, the good people and government of Adamawa State, I heartily felicitate and rejoice with all the citizens and residents of our dear state as we celebrate Eid El-Fitr,” he said.
In Cross River State, Governor Ben Ayade congratulated the Muslim community for fasting successfully through the 30-day Ramadan period and urged them to imbibe the teachings of Prophet Muhammed on the essence of the religious obligation.
“This is the time, more than ever before, to connect to the virtue of love, compassion, unity and generosity which Prophet Muhammed symbolises and which the holy month of Ramadan taught us,” he said in a statement by his media aide, Christian Ita.
The governor appealed to the Muslim Ummah, particularly in Cross River State to shun divisive tendencies capable of drawing back the country’s wheel of progress and development.
He also urged Muslims in the state to be law-abiding and continue to pray for a peaceful Nigeria, especially as the country prepares for elections “because with prayers and supplications to God every problem is surmountable”.
“I call on you, dear Muslim brothers and sisters who have been part of us in the state and government to at all times adhere to the essence of Ramadan and the teachings of Prophet Muhammed by showing tolerance, generosity, love and unity as well as by embracing mutual co-existence among the diverse ethnic nationalities in the country, especially in our dear state, Cross River,” Governor Ayade said.
“Divided, we achieve nothing but united, we achieve all, even beyond our expectations. Let us, therefore, be closely knitted in brotherhood and in love to advance the cause of unity and progress in our country, especially as another political transition draws near.”
While wishing Muslims a wonderful and peaceful Eid-El-Fitri celebration, he enjoined them “not to stop the act of spiritual rejuvenation as recorded during the holy month of Ramadan.”
Freedom Of Worship
In neighbouring Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike congratulated the Muslim faithful for the successful fasting period and its attendant benefits of purification.
He called on all Nigerians to draw the lessons of piety, love, justice, fairness, equity, peaceful co-existence with others, tolerance, honesty and dedication derived from the teachings of the Holy Prophet all through the Ramadan period.
The governor, in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, assured the people of Rivers that his administration would continue to promote religious tolerance and the right environment for the freedom of worship.
Vigilant And Steadfast
For Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, the discipline and sacrifice Muslim faithful exhibited throughout the holy month of Ramadan deserve commendation.
He prayed Allah to accept their ibadah and assured residents of Taraba that their welfare would remain the priority of his administration.
The governor added that all would be done to create and sustain the desired ambience of peace for them to pursue their legitimate activities.
He, however, condemned the recent bomb explosions in the state and expressed sympathy with those who lost their relations and those who sustained injuries.
Governor Ishaku urged the people to be vigilant and remain steadfast in their prayers for Allah to expose and punish those behind this evil against innocent people.
He solicited the support and full participation of the people in the political transition process that has already begun in the state and the country at large to ensure the election of the right calibre of leaders for the state and the country.
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has called on Muslims, and indeed all Nigerians, to continue to pray fervently to God for the peace, security, unity and progress of the country.
He congratulated Muslims as they celebrate Eid-el-Fitr and wished them the blessings and guidance of Allah as he urged Nigerians to embrace peace, love, tolerance and sacrifice which were the exemplary virtues of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
The governor, therefore, prayed for a peaceful and pleasant celebration, stressing that the significance of the Islamic event towards the enhancement of peace, security, unity and progress of the nation was enduring.
In Yobe, Governor Mai Mala Buni also felicitated with the good people of the state, saying the Ramadan fasting had in the last one month inculcated the virtues of patience, devotion, self-control, humility, kindness, forgiveness, altruism, and other virtues of Islam that should be extended beyond the month of Ramadhan for a just and peaceful society.
He reminded the people on Zakatul Fitr or giving out measures of foodstuff to the needy at the end of the fasting period, to give them a sense of belonging during the festive period.
Governor Buni prayed to Almighty Allah to accept the acts of ibadah worship and supplications made for the full return of peace and prosperity in Yobe State and Nigeria.
He admonished the people to continue supporting government policies and programmes with an assurance that his administration would provide more infrastructural development to improve the lives of the people.
The governor charged the people to be conscious and vigilant on strange movements and objects, and to report such in their vicinity to security agents.
He also urged them to remain peaceful and law-abiding as the 2023 elections set in, saying, peace is a necessary tool for successful election and development.
Accordingly, the governor called on the people to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to fully participate in the 2023 general elections.
“All political parties are enjoined to promote peaceful electioneering, devoid of rancour to promote the spirit of sportsmanship in politics and to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.
“I also wish to commend the Nigerian Armed Forces, other security operatives and the vigilante groups for their patriotism and gallantry in the fight against insurgency and other crimes.”
A Great Nation
Just like his colleagues, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, has congratulated the Muslim Ummah for witnessing this year’s Eid-el-Fitri festival.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, he described Ramadan as an important pillar of Islam, saying it was fulfilling for the Muslim faithful to participate in the exercise and see its end.
Governor Fayemi believes Eid-el-Fitri is the crowning of the blessings received during the Holy month which draw the faithful closer to the Almighty Allah.
He said the lessons taught by Ramadan and learnt during the Holy month by the faithful would continue to shape their daily lives for a better relationship with their Creator and fellow human beings.
The governor called on the Muslim faithful not to relent in their supplications to the Almighty Allah for Nigeria to overcome its challenges and fulfill its potentials as a great nation.
He also urged the Muslim Ummah to pray for peace, harmony and tranquillity in the ‘Land of Honour’ before, during and after the June 18 governorship election, stressing that God answers the prayers of the faithful.
The 36 states of the federation have warned the Federal Government not to tamper with funds accruing to them and the 774 local government councils under the guise of satisfying an alleged $418 million London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts.
In documents seen on Monday by Channels Television, the states said they were not parties to any suit on the London/Paris Club refund, and as such were not liable to any person or entity in any judgment debt being relied on by the Federal Government.
Speaking through the Body of Attorneys-General of the Federation, the states warned further that should the Federal Government proceed to make any such deduction, it would be acting illegally and in contempt of their appeal challenging the judgment.
They gave the warning in an April 4 letter as part of their response to a November 11, 2021 letter from the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, advertising the commencement of the deduction for the liquidation of the alleged judgment debts.
The reply of the states was signed by the Body of Attorneys-General of the Federation Interim Chairman, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) of Lagos State and Interim Secretary, Dr. Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana of Nasarawa State as well as the Attorneys-Generals of Rivers, Abia, Taraba, Benue, and Zamfara states, for and on behalf of all the state Attorneys-General.
It reads in part: “Their Excellencies have drawn our attention to your letter referenced above, which the various states of the federation received at about the end of March 2022. The letter notifies the States of your intention to commence deduction from allocations due to the States from the Federation Account for the liquidation of the London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts on behalf of the 36 States of the Federation and the 774 local government councils.
“Please note that the states of the federation were not parties to any contract or suits concerning the London/Paris Club refund, from which the said judgment debts arose.
“Consequently, the 36 States of the federation are not liable to any person or entity in any judgment debt.”
The letter noted that the deduction of the allocations due to the 36 states of the federation from the Federation Account to liquidate the London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts is the subject of an appeal filed by the 36 States at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
It explained that: “The appeal challenges the Federal High Court’s (per Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo) judgment delivered on 25th March 2022 between A.G Abia State v. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria & 42 Ors. and, therefore, the issue is sub judice.”
In addition, it noted that the states have also filed a Motion on Notice for an Order of Injunction pending appeal.
The letter added that the body’s legal representatives had published a public caveat in national dailies notifying the public of the pending appeal, which also advised concerned parties “to desist from dealing with the subject matter thereof pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal and the application for Injunction pending appeal”.
It said that given the above, “The law requires you to restrain from taking any step whatsoever that is capable of interfering with the rest of the suit, which is now a subject of an appeal.
“Accordingly, Nigerian case law enjoins you to refrain from effecting any deduction whatsoever from the allocations due to the 36 States from the Federation Account for the liquidation of the London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts purportedly on behalf of the 36 States of the Federation and the 774 local government councils, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal by the states of the federation. Doing otherwise in the face of the pending Appeal and Motion on Notice for Injunction pending appeal shall be at your peril.”