Federal High Court dismisses 36 states’ suit against $418 Paris Club debt deduction

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed the suit filed by the 36 states against the decision by the Federal Government to deduct $418 million from the funds standing to the credit of the states to pay debts owed consultants engaged in the Paris Club refunds made to states.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Friday, upheld the objection by some of the defendants and held that the states’ Attorneys General, who filed the suit on behalf of the state lacked the locus standi (the right to initiate an action before a court) to filed the suit.

Justice Ekwo noted that since the debt being challenged arose from the actions of the state governors, who are members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the AGs, who are appointees of the governors, cannot sue to challenge the actions of their appointors.

The judge also held that the suit amounted to an abuse of the court process in that it was intended to seek a review of judgments already given in favour of the consultants.

Justice Ekwo held that his court lacked the powers to review judgments of courts of coordinate jurisdiction.

The judge proceeded to consider the suit and held that it was without merit and proceeded to dismiss it

The judgment was on the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1313/2021.

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