Governors legal battle against $418m Paris Club deductions postponed


 

The much-publicized legal fireworks by the 36 state governors against the Federal Government’s bid to deduct $418 million from their states’ bank accounts slated for Tuesday has been put off.

The legal battle was on November 5 fixed for today, November 30, by Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja shortly after restraining the Federal Government from proceeding with the deductions.

However, when our correspondent arrived in the courtroom, a special announcement by one of the court registrars was made to the effect that the trial Judge would not sit today as planned.

A retinue of lawyers, mainly Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), engaged for the legal fireworks for and against the fund deductions to pay contractors were asked to pick a convenient date among themselves for the suit.

They settled for December 7 after consultations and hot arguments that lasted twenty minutes.

Our reporter noted that while the Federal Government prefers an earlier date for the matter to be thrashed out, the governors’ camp appeared comfortable with the shift in the hearing date.

Our correspondent observed that the governors’ stance might not be unconnected with the subsisting November 5 order of Justice Ekwo which restrained the Federal Government and its agents from going ahead to deduct the money until the suit is fully resolved.

The restraining order was granted in favour of the governors and against the Federal Government following an ex parte application argued by counsel to the 36 states by Jibrin Otukepa and Ahmed Raji both Senior Advocates of Nigeria

Defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Finance Minister, Accountant General of the Federation and all banks in Nigeria among others.

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